France’s health authorities have confirmed a “marked increase” in the number of coronavirus cases of 54% across the mainland – excluding overseas territories – in a week.
The increase covered all age groups, but Public Santé France, the public health authority, said the rise was particularly worrying in those aged between 20 and 30 years. There was also an increase in the number of patients admitted to hospital with Covid-19, though the figures for those requiring intensive care remained stable.
As France prepared for a heatwave, people were urged to keep their masks on despite the suffocating temperatures expected to reach 41C in areas.
The number of new cases in the previous 24 hours was 1,377, only slightly fewer than the previous day which was a record since May, and the number of clusters under investigation rose by 10 to 151. There were 16 deaths in hospital in the previous 24 hours taking the total number of deaths in France attributed to the coronavirus to 30,254.
In its report for week 30 (20-26 July) Santé Publique France said the number of positive tests for coronavirus in France – including the overseas departments – had risen for the third week in a row and the increase was “significant”. Just under 458,000 patients were tested and 6,407 found positive, an increase of 44% on the number of positive tests the previous week.
Of those tested, just under 440,000 were resident in mainland France, known as l’Hexagone, and 5,592 tested positive, an increase of 54% on the number of positive tests the previous week.
In short, the number of tests carried out increased by 27%, while the number of positive results increased by 54%.
In week 30 the increase in new positive cases is much higher than the increase in the number of tests carried out.
More than half (51%) of those who tested positive showed no symptoms. Of those tested positive 69% were aged between 15-44 and of those the biggest increase was among the 20-25 year olds.
The R-number – the number of people one person with the virus will infect – rose from 1.35 to 1.42.
The increase in clusters was due to large family gatherings as well as public and private events.
Santé Publique France says the increase is due to the “drop in the systematic adoption of prevention measures (keeping a minimum 1m distance, not shaking hands and stopping embraces)”.