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France declares Paris, Marseille as high-risk zone for coronavirus

Saturday - August 15, 2020 2:09 am , Category : WORLD
Paris, Aug 15 (IANS) Paris and the Bouches-du-Rhone area around Marseille are classified as high-risk zone for coronavirus infection, said a government decree, a move that enables authorities to toughen restriction rules.
"These are two departments whose intrinsic fragility is well known because these are areas of urban density, areas where there are a lot of population flow, a lot of transport, a lot of young people who have an intense social activity," Health Director Jerome Salomon told France Inter radio.
For the coronavirus high risk zones, authorities have the power to impose localized confinement by limiting people travel, restricting transport traffic and closing restaurants and bars, said a government decree published on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.
"We are also monitoring 20 others departments which are above a certain vigilance threshold," said Salomon.
"The indicators are bad, signals are worrying and the situation is deteriorating week after week," he warned. "Every week there are several hundred people admitted into hospital, more than 120 into intensive care."
On Thursday, France's coronavirus infections totalled 209,365, with a single-day increase of 2,669, the highest since April 27. Some 233 clusters are under investigation, with 28 detected in one day, Health Ministry's data showed.
Reiterating the vital necessity to strictly respect barrier gestures and social distancing, Salomon stressed that "the fate of the epidemic is in our hands because today we have prevention tools," referring notably to boosted testing capacity to 600,000 tests per week.
"We are well prepared. All the tools are available to avoid a second wave," he said.
"It is we who have the accelerator of the epidemic under our feet. We can decide to accelerate or all together, collectively, brake," he added.

--IANS rt/