France hit by 3rd virus surge; culture minister in hospital

PARIS (AP) — France’s high-profile culture minister has been hospitalized for COVID-19, the latest senior official to be infected as the nation faces a third surge of infections.  Roselyne Bachelot, 74, announced last weekend that she had tested positive and her hospitalization was made public Wednesday.  The latest surge has been propelled by the highly contagious virus variant first seen in Britain. ICUs in the Paris region as well as in northern and southeastern France are bursting at the seams. French President Emmanuel Macron, who was infected months earlier but never hospitalized, on Tuesday announced an acceleration of the country’s vaccination campaign, which has been criticized as too slow. Now all people over 70 are eligible to get a vaccine shot.