PARIS, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in France spiked by 22,086 over the past 24 hours and a further 612 patients succumbed to the disease, according to official data released on Tuesday.
The cumulative total of infection cases rose to 3,079,943, and fatalities stood at 74,106, the seventh-highest in the world, the data showed.
A total of 27,041 COVID-19 patients remained hospitalized, including 3,081 serious cases, up by 117 and 40 respectively. The two figures, key gauges to evaluate hospitals' ability to deal with the outbreak, increased for the third day in a row.
As of Tuesday, 1,184,510 people have received the first dose of vaccine against the coronavirus, according to the Health Ministry.
Unlike several countries which allow extending to six weeks the time between the first and second injection to address dose shortage and delivery delay, France maintained the gap at between three and four weeks, said Health Minister Olivier Veran.
He told a press conference on Tuesday that spacing out the two injections would have a "minor impact on the pace of rollout."
So far, France has received 2,035,000 doses. It has ordered some 200 million doses from different pharmaceutical companies.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.
Meanwhile, 236 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 63 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Jan. 26.
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