France reported 179,807 new confirmed coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period on Tuesday, December 28, by far the highest number since the start of the pandemic. Greece, Cyprus, Portugal and the UK also broke new infection records on Tuesday.

The previous highest daily number of new cases in France, 104,611, was recorded on Saturday, December 25.

Although many new cases concern the Omicron variant, which is considered less serious than previous variants, France also reported 242 deaths in one day. Public Health France counted 3,416 patients in intensive care, including 417 admitted in 24 hours.

France enjoys a high vaccination rate, at 76.6 percent of the total population. On Tuesday almost 700,000 people were jabbed, including 46,589 first doses and 613,757 booster jabs.

In the UK on Tuesday 129,471 new coronavirus cases and 18 new deaths were reported in a clear indication that Omicron may be less dangerous than previous forms of the virus and that immunity in the general population has been enhanced by previous exposure to the virus.

FILE PHOTO: PM Jean Castex has said there will be no curfew on December 31 and schools will return on January 3 Reuters