French Government Declares Paris and Marseille High-Risk COVID Zones after Surge in Cases

Paris and Marseille now classed as High-Risk COVID Zones. image: Twitter

Two of France’s biggest cities have been declared “active zones” for the spread of COVID-19 in a move which allows local authorities to impose restrictions.

France had reported more than 2,500 new COVID-19 infections for the second day in a row, levels only last seen since mid-April, when the country was in the middle of one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns.

The government move gives local authorities in Paris and the Bouches-du-Rhone area more powers to limit the circulation of people and vehicles, restrict access to public transport and air travel, limit access to public buildings and close restaurants, bars and other establishments.

In the last few days, both Paris and Marseille had made it mandatory to wear face masks in busy public areas. The two cities have seen weekly rates of infection rocket above the level of 50 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is the limit that Germany, for example, has stipulated as necessitating regional lockdown measures.

The spike in infections in France is apparently prompted Britain to order all arrivals from the country to enter quarantine for 14 days from Saturday. The pace of growth in cases in the week of August 3-9 was fastest among people aged 15-44, the health authority (DGS) said, calling it a “troubling situation”.

Earlier in the week, French Prime Minister Jean Castex had insisted that Covid-19 could get easily out of hand if people do not take precautions, which included wearing a mask when in crowded outdoor areas.

The warning comes with France only halfway through the summer holiday month of August. “It’s imperative that we keep up our efforts to avoid the epidemic picking up again, individually and collectively, everywhere and at all times”, the DGS/health department said.


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Tony Winterburn

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