The growing number of infections has prompted French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer to admit that it will not be possible for all schools in the country to reopen safely from Tuesday.
“It is decided by a day-to-day analysis based on the health situation of each territory,” Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer said on France-Info radio.
Masks will also be compulsory in the workplace, from Tuesday.
President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Jean Castex have said they will do anything to avoid a new national lockdown, but the French president has not ruled it out.
“Nothing, in theory, can be excluded,” Emmanuel Macron told reporters last week.
The cumulative total of COVID-19 infections in France reached 281,025 against 187,919 at the end of July.
In August, new cases rose on average to a record 3,003 per day, a figure four times higher than the average increase of 746 per day in July.
The surge in new cases has led authorities to reimpose some containment measures, such as making face masks mandatory on streets, shops and public transport in almost all of the country’s major cities.
The number of people hospitalized for the disease fell 14% in August compared with July, as the virus now circulates mainly among young people, who usually do not develop severe symptoms.
But that figure rose for the second day in a row on Monday, to 4,582, after dropping for nearly two weeks. And the number of people in intensive care units increased for a fourth consecutive day, to 409.
These numbers are still low compared to their respective peaks of 32,292 and 7,148 seen in April, but experts are closely monitoring trends.
France reported 29 new deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, meaning the average daily death toll fell to a new low of 12 in August, from 14 in July and a peak of 695 in April.
Spain has recorded the highest number of cases in Western Europe and authorities are working to break infectious chains and reduce hospitalizations.
“Of course we are worried because we need to stabilize and reduce the chain of infection,” Health Minister Salvador Illa told Catalonia regional television channel 324 on Monday, adding that the aim was to avoid to put pressure on hospitals.
Between Friday and Monday, more than 23,000 new cases of COVID-19 were counted. This figure suggests a slight drop in the infection rate from the peak on August 21.
Spain’s health minister said the situation was not comparable to the first peak of the pandemic in March and April, noting that hospitals now have greater capacity.
Mr Illa said Spain would be unlikely to need to reimpose a state of emergency or close schools again, but said nothing could be ruled out.
Nearly 200 passengers face two-week self-isolation after a ‘debacle’ on a flight from the Greek island of Zakynthos to Cardiff which saw at least 16 people testing positive for COVID19.
One traveler was scathing from the airline describing Tui flight -TOM6215 – as full of “covidots” and “inane crew who don’t care.” Another said that there was “not a lot” of rule control.
Tui said security was a priority and he was concerned about the allegations.
“Our crew are trained to the highest standards,” the airline said. “A full investigation is currently underway as these concerns were not reported during the flight or until today. “
The 193 passengers and crew who were on board the flight on August 25 are asked to self-isolate for fifteen days.
Health officials said seven people from three different parties were believed to have been potentially infectious on board the plane.
British travelers returning from Greece and its islands are not required to self-isolate as these places remain on the UK government’s list of countries exempt from quarantine.
The UK has recorded over 336,000 infections and over 41,500 deaths.
Russia remains the most affected European country with a number of known cases close to one million.