France mulls tougher COVID-19 rules as daily cases hit new high

  • World
  • Friday, 18 Sep 2020

PARIS, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- French authorities would consider additional restrictive rules to contain the spread of coronavirus, notably in red zones, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday.

On Thursday, France reported a rise of 10,593 COVID-19 infections, a new single-day record since the previous hike of 10,561 registered on Saturday.

The country now counts a cumulative total of 415,481 confirmed cases. Up to 31,095 patients had succumbed to the respiratory illness, up by 50 from Wednesday.

"If the sanitary situation does not improve, and if the number of intensive care admissions continues to grow in areas where strong measures have already been taken, particularly Marseille and Guadeloupe, it will undoubtedly be necessary to take even tougher measures," Veran told reporters.

Stricter rules could include closures of bars and ban on public gathering, according to the minister.

In Nice and Lyon, where the virus was spreading at a rapid pace, local authorities must propose by Saturday the measures to be taken, said Veran.

Early this week, authorities in Bordeaux and Marseille banned public gatherings of more than ten people in parks and on beaches and cut the public-event attendance limit to 1,000 from 5,000.

The coronavirus epidemic is "once again very active" in France, warned the minister. He noted that the vigilance threshold, which indicates the number of infected people per 100,000 inhabitants, is now at nearly 84 compared to 40 registered in mid-August and ten at the end of July.

"If everyone reduces his number of social contacts, this would help reduce the spread of the virus," the minister said.

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