PARIS (AP) – France has opened 400 investigations into networks that supply fake COVID-19 health cards, the interior minister said on Sunday, with the number of people infected with the virus rising sharply across the country.
In recent days, the case of a woman infected with the virus who died at a Paris regional hospital, showing a fake vaccine certificate in the French press, has attracted attention. The head of the hospital’s intensive care unit said they would give the woman antibody treatment immediately if they found out they had not been vaccinated.
Officials have identified several thousand counterfeit COVID-19 health tickets used across France, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told RTL radio on Sunday. He said about 400 investigations had been opened into the sale of counterfeit tickets, including “related to health professionals”.
He did not say how many people have been arrested so far or provide details.
The government is tightening the permit rules required to access all restaurants and many events and venues. To get this, people must show complete vaccination, a negative virus test that took less than 24 hours, or documents confirming that they have recently recovered from COVID-19.
With more confirmed infections than anywhere else in the pandemic one day last week, France is stepping up efforts to deliver shock-boosting blows in the hopes that it will be enough to reduce the pressure on hospitals. Half of France’s intensive care units are occupied by viral patients, some areas are again delaying non-emergency surgeries, and more than 100 infected people are dying every day.
The government has closed nightclubs and tightened social segregation measures, but is trying to avoid the new blockade. Health Minister Olivier Veran told Le Parisien that “although the wave of the epidemic is severe, there are signs that growth has begun to slow.” He said 90 percent of people over the age of 65 have received reinforcing strokes so far.
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