PARIS (Reuters) -France registered a record of more than 332,000 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, while the number of deaths also rose as the country battles a fifth wave of the virus.
The final number of new French COVID cases stood at 332,252 - slightly below an earlier indication given to the French parliament from Health Minister Olivier Veran.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in hospitals rose by 246 in the last 24 hours, taking the total since the pandemic began to 97,670. The number of COVID patients in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) stood at 3,695 and there were over 20,000 COVID patients in hospital in total, the highest number since late May.
France is backing on ramping up its COVID-19 vaccination programme to avoid having to take any drastic new restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
French President Emmanuel Macron had said earlier that he wanted to "piss off" unvaccinated people by making their lives so complicated they would end up getting jabbed. He was speaking in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper in which he also called unvaccinated people irresponsible and unworthy of being considered citizens.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Geert De Clercq; editing by Barbara Lewis)