France recorded 296 new fatalities from the coronavirus, health authorities said on Thursday, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 100,073.
With the latest figures, France became the third European country after the UK and Italy to report more than 100,000 deaths from COVID-19.
Some 38,045 people also tested positive in France over the past day.
“We will not forget any face, any name,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a tweet paying respects to the departed.
“We all have a thought for their families, their loved ones, for the children who have lost a parent or a grandparent, the bereaved siblings, the broken friendships,” Macron added.
There is a debate in the country that the number of deaths had already crossed the 100,000 mark, with experts saying the virus-related data updated by health authorities does not reflect the exact number of fatalities.
Jean-Marie Robine, scientific advisor to France’s Institute for Demographic Studies, told FranceInfo news, that the 100,000 mark was crossed a long time ago.
He pointed out that the official data does not count the deaths occurred at home.
Meanwhile, the country is speeding up the vaccination campaign, with the hope that public places reopen by mid-May.
Macron held a meeting at the Elysee on Thursday evening with Cabinet ministers to discuss the reopening of cultural places and restaurants, cafes which have been shut since October.
Prime minister Jean Castex announced the total number of vaccinated people should reach “12 million, 2 million more than expected,” by today evening.
From this weekend, vaccination slots will be opened for teachers in schools, colleges and high schools, early childhood professionals, police officers, gendarmes and prison administration supervisors, above 55 years old. Around 400,000 such professionals are expected to be inoculated.