“If the overall level of virus circulation is comparable to that of early last autumn, warning signs are emerging in some areas,” said government spokesman Gabriel Attal after the regular meeting of the Ministers’ Council on Wednesday morning.
A week before the next phase of reopening is due, Attal said that it would not be sensible to increase the pace at which France eases its restrictions – noting an increase in cases in the south west regions of Nouvelle Aquitaine and Occitanie.
“In Nouvelle Aquitaine, we are seeing sometimes significant increases in the circulation of the virus, with a reproduction rate that has risen above 1, which means that the epidemic is gaining ground again,” he said.
The incidence rate in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department has risen more than 80 percent in a week, according to Attal, while cases were up “to a lesser extent in Charente-Maritime, Lot-et-Garonne, Charente, Landes and Gironde”.
He said that although the national circulation of the virus remained moderate, the figures in those two regions should not go unheeded, and called on the French people not to lower their guard.
But, he said: “The indicators are green at the national level. This is good news which shows that the first step in lifting the restriction measures has been successful.”
Meanwhile in the département of Bouches-du-Rhône, which contains Marseille, wearing a mask on beaches, in parks gardens and natural spaces is no longer obligatory from June 2nd.
“Respect for social distancing” remains necessary, added the préfecture in a statement.