The French government has turned the 80,000-seat Stade de France, the national stadium located in the northern suburbs of Paris, into a massive vaccination centre to step up Covid-19 vaccine rollout and provide relief to overwhelmed hospitals.
"We accelerate vaccination. The centre will vaccinate around 10,000 people per week," Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Tuesday during a visit to Stade de France, which hosted the World Cup final in 1998.
As part of its plan to speed up its vaccination program, the French government aims to open about 40 mass inoculation centers this month, and allows shots to be administrated in doctors' offices and pharmacies, reports Xinhua news agency.
To date, over 9.5 million people in France have had at least one vaccine dose, accounting for 18.1 per cent of the adult population, and 3.2 million others have completed their inoculation with two doses, according to Health Ministry figures.
"We are in a very difficult moment with this third wave," Castex said, stressing the importance of vaccination. "Thanks to vaccination that we will overcome this terrible crisis."
On Tuesday, the number of Covid-19 patients who required life support rose by 193 to 5,626, above the peak of 4,919 reported in November 2020, when the country went into the second lockdown to contain the epidemic, health authorities data showed.
With 732 new admissions in the past 24 hours, the biggest daily jump in nearly five months, hospitalisations reached 30,639, passing the 30,000 mark for the first time since November 24, 2020.
The overall Covid caseload and death toll in France stood at 4,902,025 and 97,431, respectively.