France declares seven new coronavirus 'red zones'

8 September 2020, 08:36

Women wear masks on the Paris metro
Women wear masks on the Paris metro. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

France has declared seven new coronavirus “red zones” as the country experiences a significant rise in virus cases.

Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse on the island of Corsica; Côte-d'Or, Nord, Bas-Rhin, and Seine-Maritime on the mainland; and Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean were all added to the list.

The new decree, published on Sunday, brings the total number of regions in the “red zone” to 28.

These are described as "zones where the virus is circulating actively", with over 50 new cases per 100,000 in the last week.

The classification gives local authorities powers to place limits on public life, including bans on travelling long distances, closing bars and restaurants and imposing stricter rules on wearing a mask in offices.

Paris, where masks are now compulsory in many outside public areas, was amongst the first to be added to the list on August 14.

58 new clusters of cases were reported across France on Monday, with 4,203 cases reported in 24 hours, according to the country’s health authorities. 25 deaths from coronavirus were also recorded, bringing the total death toll to 30,726.

On both Friday and Saturday France surpassed over 8,000 positive cases in 24 hours, with an all-time high of 8,975 on Friday.

In their latest update on Monday, the French public health body stressed that while testing is increasing this did not fully explain the increase in cases and described the circulation of the virus as “exponential” and “worrying”.

However, despite the virus’ resurgence, the French Health Minister Olivier Veran recently ruled out a new nationwide lockdown.

The French Open is also going ahead with plans to permit thousands of spectators this month.

The 11,500 tennis fans will be split into three zones and must wear masks. But some players have already raised concerns about safety, with defending champion Ash Barty dropping out of the tournament.

Meanwhile, the France Football Federation announced that Paris St Germain star forward Kylian Mbappe had tested positive for the virus and would miss France’s game against Croatia this evening.

France is currently on the UK’s quarantine list, with travellers who have been in or through the country required to quarantine for 14-days or face fines of up to £1,000.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has previously said that it is unlikely the country will be re-added to the Government’s travel corridor list anytime soon.