France starts giving COVID-19 shots in national sports stadium

PARIS (Reuters) - France has started administering shots of the COVID-19 vaccine inside the Stade de France, the national stadium that once hosted soccer's World Cup final.

Reuters April 07, 2021 00:12:43 IST
France starts giving COVID-19 shots in national sports stadium

France starts giving COVID19 shots in national sports stadium

PARIS (Reuters) - France has started administering shots of the COVID-19 vaccine inside the Stade de France, the national stadium that once hosted soccer's World Cup final.

Queues of people snaked around the concourse, but where under usual circumstances they would have been lining up for a sports event, on Tuesday they were waiting for their jabs as part of a French bid to speed up its vaccination programme.

Inside the stadium, a space that in pre-pandemic times hosted conferences and VIP dinners had been fitted out with tents that were being used as cubicles to administer the vaccine.

"The Stade de France, which is a place of celebration, which is the temple of sporting feats in our country, has been at a standstill for nearly 400 days," Pierre Coppey, an executive with one of the stadium's co-owners, told reporters.

"What we can do here, by mobilising this vaccination centre, is speed up the return to a normal life," he said.

France needs to accelerate vaccinations because of a new wave of COVID-19 infections. Doctors say intensive care units in parts of the country are at risk of being overwhelmed by patients sick with the virus.

France is one of several European Union states re-vamping its vaccination rollout to make up lost ground.

Around 13% of the French population has been given at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while in nearby Britain the figure is at 47%, according to Reuters data.

The 80,000-seat Stade de France was the venue of the 1998 soccer World Cup final, won by the home team, and it also hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup final.

Stadium managers say the handful of matches and concerts scheduled for the next few months can still go ahead, despite the opening of the vaccination centre.

(Writing by Christian Lowe, editing by Ed Osmond)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.