PARIS, Jan 18: The COVID-19 situation continues to worsen in France, with 464,769 new cases detected in the past 24 hours, it was announced by the country's public health agency on Tuesday. This broke the previous daily record of 368,149 cases.
The agency said that 3,881 COVID-19 patients were being treated in intensive care, accounting for over 70 percent of the French health system's current capacity. Also on Tuesday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced two new measures providing government aid to companies that have been struggling due to the pandemic.
The first measure will help small companies (with less than 250 employees) that lost more than 30 percent of their turnover in December 2021 and January 2022, by covering 20 percent of their social contributions. The second concerns companies that lost more than 65 percent of their turnover, and have asked employees to work part-time. These companies will be exempted from charges normally paid by employers for permanent staff, and will also receive aid equivalent to 20 percent of their social contribution payments.
On Jan. 16, the French National Assembly adopted the vaccine pass law, which makes the pass mandatory for people over the age of 16 to enter public venues. Children between the ages of 12 and 15 are not obliged to have the vaccine pass but must present a health pass.
According to a study published on Tuesday by Economic Analysis Council, the health pass has allowed France to prevent 4,000 COVID-19-related deaths. The French government hopes to adopt the vaccine pass law on Friday if it receives the green light from the Constitutional Council, the country's highest constitutional authority.