PARIS (Reuters) – The rate of reproduction of the new coronavirus in Brittany, popular with tourists, has increased sharply in less than a week, according to government data, the last indication that the virus is gaining momentum again in France .
On Thursday, the government accelerated plans to make it mandatory to wear face masks in closed public spaces due to concerns over further surges of COVID-19, particularly in the western and southern regions of the France which had been relatively spared at the height of the epidemic between March and May.
According to data released Friday, the reproductive rate of the disease, known as R0, in Brittany rose from 0.92 to 2.62 between July 10 and 14.
This figure is one of many indicators that authorities are monitoring when deciding whether to impose tougher restrictions after the end of the country’s foreclosure in May.
A reproduction rate of 2.62 means that each person infected with COVID-19 transmits the disease on average to between 2 and 3 other people. A rate lower than 1 is necessary to gradually contain the disease.
“This is a worrying figure because it means that the epidemic is taking off again,” Eric Caumes, an infectious disease specialist at Pitie-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, told BFM TV.
The disease has killed more than 30,000 people in France. While it has been brought under control with deaths and a number of people in intensive care decreasing, daily cases increased before the summer holidays, where people gather in larger groups and travelers from abroad have been allowed to return to France.
Caumes said Paris hospitals in June had seen no new cases of the virus, but that since early July, people began to return in numbers similar to February with two or three sick people a day.
“It is possible that what is happening in Paris is nothing compared to what is happening in other regions of France which were not affected by the first epidemic wave and are likely to face an epidemic wave”, did he declare.
Report by John Irish; Editing by Janet Lawrence
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