Two of France’s largest cities impose tougher COVID-19 measures

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MARSEILLE (Reuters) – Marseille and Bordeaux, two of France’s largest cities, faced stricter rules on Monday for beach gatherings, senior citizens visiting retirement homes and attending public events outdoors as part of efforts to contain an increase in COVID-19 cases.

FILE PHOTO: People queue at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing site in Paris, France, September 11, 2020. REUTERS / Charles Platiau

In recent weeks, France has seen one of the strongest accelerations in the number of new cases in Western Europe. Daily confirmed cases hit record levels last week.

“We will reach the point where cases will double every eight days,” Philippe de Mester, president of the regional health authority covering the southern city of Marseille, said at a press conference.

At the height of the first wave in the spring, new cases doubled every 3.5 days. Despite this, doctors say intensive care services in Marseille are almost at full capacity.

With a sunny week’s forecast, single groups of more than 10 people sunbathing on Marseille’s beaches and parks are now banned, and school trips and student parties suspended, the Provence region official said. -Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

The measures apply until October 1.

The obligation to wear masks in indoor and outdoor public spaces in Marseille has been extended to 26 surrounding neighborhoods.

France reported 6,158 new cases on Monday, comfortably below the more than 10,000 new infections identified on Friday, although the seven-day moving average remained above 8,000 for the third day in a row.

Intensive care admissions and deaths remained low for several weeks after cases began to rise in the summer. But both are now on the rise, even though they are still well below Wave 1 highs, and the number of nursing home clusters is increasing.

The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and the southwestern region of Nouvelle-Acquitaine, which encompasses the city of Bordeaux, said residents of nursing homes would be limited to receiving fewer visitors.

Nouvelle-Acquitaine has also banned standing eating and drinking in bars, and both regions have limited public events to 1,000 people compared to 5,000 previously.

Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva and Claude Chendjou in Paris and Marc Leras in Marseille; Written by Richard Lough; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Gareth Jones

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