With back to school fast approaching, there is growing concern that the pandemic situation in France will take a serious turn for the worse.

On Tuesday, August 24, the general secretary of the biggest union representing teachers in elementary schools told a press conference that since younger children are not vaccinated, “we need to find other systems to prevent contamination and the circulation of the virus among children.”

“If we compare this start to the new school year with that of last year, we are not at all in the same incidence rates: we have recorded a rate of 128 against 30 (in 2020) for 0-9 year olds and a rate of 310 against 109 for 10-19 year olds… it’s a safe bet that school will be disrupted from the first weeks with a strong circulation of the Delta variant,” Guislaine David said.

Public Health France reported 153 deaths within 24 hours on Tuesday, with 2,221 in intensive care. The number of those in hospital jumped by almost 10 percent to 11,066. At 24,853, the number of new cases was the highest in six days.

Meanwhile, the rate of vaccination in France has slowed. In one case, hundreds of people were turned away from a vaccination centre in a large shopping complex on Monday because they did not have a Health Pass needed to access the site.

On Tuesday, 174 people died of coronavirus in the UK, the highest figure since March.

FILE PHOTO: French schoolchildren return to school in April this year Eric Gaillard, Reuters