Monday, 28 Sep 2020

France says it must move fast to fight coronavirus surge

PARIS (REUTERS) – French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday (Aug 27) the government must move fast to head off a deadly new Covid-19 wave as the virus’s reproduction level has jumped, with infections surging in the Paris region and among young people.

France’s Covid-19 reproduction “R” number is now 1.4, Castex told a news briefing, indicating that the overall epidemic is growing.

“The virus is spreading all over the country,” he said.  “The spread of the epidemic can be exponential if we do not react quickly,” Castex told reporters.

Grandparents are being told not to pick up their grandchildren from school as the government is worried about hospitals being overwhelmed. 

Coronavirus vaccines could be available from the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021, a presentation by French Health Minister Olivier Veran suggested on Thursday. 

The government is hoping to avoid a new nationwide lockdown, but the country has been facing a resurgence of new Covid-19 infections since July, with an acceleration from mid-August.

The health ministry on Wednesday reported 5,429 new daily infections, a new post-lockdown high and a level of new infections not seen since the height of the epidemic in early April. 

The government is due to unveil details of the post-pandemic rescue plan to haul the G7 economy out of its deepest slump since World War Two on Sept 3.

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