PARIS: Gatherings of family are a major source of COVID-19 infections, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday, adding the spread of the disease had accelerated in the last weeks.

“If everyone reduced his number of social contacts, this would help reduce the spread of the virus”, he said during a press conference.

Five people out of 100 tested for COVID-19 are today positive, versus one in a 100 at start of summer, Veran also said. 

France is to implement extra measures to curb the COVID-19 epidemic in the cities of Lyon and Nice, the health minister said, adding to the three other regions deemed as virus “red zones” where additional measures are already in place.

The minister, Olivier Veran, did not say what those measures would be, but that local officials in Lyon and Nice would have until the weekend to submit their plans for extra measures to the government in Paris.

France has this month seen a resurgence in the number of virus cases, surpassing the daily record reached earlier this year. Numbers in hospital and intensive care with COVID-19 are climbing too, though they are still a long way short of the peak reached in the spring.

Addressing French citizens, Veran said: “We are in a situation, especially in the regions that I have mentioned, where I can only ask you to redouble your efforts, particularly in reducing the number of people you see each day.”

The regions with extra anti-COVID measures already in place are Marseille, Bordeaux, and Guadeloupe, a French territory in the Caribbean.

Measures that came into force on Monday in Marseille and Bordeaux included stricter rules for beach gatherings, visiting the elderly in care homes, and attending outdoor public events.





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