The ministry's DGS health directorate said on Tuesday that it had registered “an increase in the number of emergency doctor calls, emergency room visits, the number of virus clusters and new hospitalisations” for suspected cases across the country.
The directorate said a total of 547 virus clusters had emerged since May 9th, just before France began lifting the strict stay-at-home orders and business closures imposed in March to limit the virus's spread.
But currently only 208 clusters remain active, it said, clarifying a statement from Monday by Health Minister Olivier Veran, who cited 400 to 500 active clusters even though “we are very far from a second wave” of widespread cases.
Prime Minister Jean Castex is working on a plan to reintroduce lockdown if necessary. Photo: AFP
As people take advantage of the summer holidays, “travel, events and gatherings of families or friends are factors that could foster the epidemic's resurgence,” the DGS said.
Over the past 24 hours, however, only 13 new deaths had been recorded in France, far below the daily tolls at the height of the outbreak.
Currently, 6,482 people are hospitalised for Covid-19 treatment, of which 455 are in intensive care requiring ventilator assistance to breathe – compared with over 7,000 in intensive care while the virus was overwhelming hospitals in March and April.
Nationwide the “R” number indicating the viral transmission rate now stands at 1.2, meaning 10 infected people will infect an additional 12 on average, according to the Santé Publique France health agency.
But in some areas on the French mainland, the rate is much higher, with the southern Mediterranean region including Marseille and Nice now reporting a rate of 1.55.
Brittany in western France stands at 2.6 – meaning 10 infected people could infect on average 26 more people.
This week the government made face masks mandatory in enclosed public spaces such as shops or public buildings. Full for the list on where masks are now compulsory, click here.
Prime Minister Jean Castex is also working on a plan to reintroduce lockdown if necessary, although he says any subsequent lockdowns will be on a local basis, rather than a repeat of the two-month nationwide lockdown in March and April.