New coronavirus infections in France have almost doubled in the past 24 hours as Prime Minister Jean Castex warned the country was going “wrong”; for two weeks.
The health ministry reported 1,397 new Covid-19 infections as of Monday. Fourteen people have died.
A ban on meetings of more than 5,000 people has been extended until October 30.
Mr Castex also urged local authorities to further expand the requirement to wear face masks in public.
“The epidemiological situation, which we are following very closely, is deteriorating: 2,000 new cases a day compared to 1,000 three weeks ago,” Mr Castex told a news conference in Montpellier.
“About 25 new groupings are identified every day compared to five or three weeks ago,” he added.
It is now mandatory to wear face masks all over the country on public transport and indoors, including shops and government offices.
Local authorities have the ability to impose the mask and some have introduced it into outdoor spaces, including tourist hotspots in Paris and the banks of the River Seine.
More than 30,000 people have already died from the disease in France, which experienced a significant wave of cases in March and April.
Another 14 people have died since Monday, according to the health ministry.
His death toll remains the seventh in the world, though it is well below the US and Brazil where more than 100,000 have died in each country, according to a report from Johns Hopkins University.
Following a national stalemate, restrictions in France were eased in May and June and tourism was allowed after the summer holiday season began and foreign visitors allowed.
Public gatherings of more than 5,000 people, including concerts or sporting events, were due to resume in late August, but Mr. Castex has extended the ban until October 30.
Over the weekend, more than 10,000 people took part in an illegal run in the remote and sparsely populated Lozere mountainous area of southern France.
Mr Castex said that if people did not take action, the country would expose itself “to a high risk of an epidemic resumption that will be difficult to control”.
On Monday, the health ministry reported that 10,800 new cases of coronavirus had been identified in the past week.
The spread of the virus is particularly noticeable among young people and in cities such as Paris and Marseille, he added.
What is happening in the rest of Europe?
- Experts in Spain say the country has once again reached a “critical situation” with the worst rate of infection in Europe. Reported an average daily increase of 4,923 cases over the past seven days, according to the AFP news agency. The Ministry of Health reports that there are currently 500 outbreak groups across the country. Spain was badly hit during a wave of infections in March and April, and more than 28,000 people have died from the disease.
- Russia says it has developed a coronavirus vaccine that has been approved for use after only two months of human testing. President Vladimir Putin said his daughter had already been given. But the World Health Organization said it did not see enough information about the vaccine to evaluate it and more evidence would be needed before it went into production.
- Great Britain reported 1,148 confirmed new cases Tuesday, the highest daily total since June 21
- Greece imposed an overnight curfew on restaurants and bars in popular tourist areas – places will close between midnight and seven in the morning
- Latvian The Prime Minister has urged residents not to travel even to ‘safe’ European countries, citing an increase in cases