'Worrying' Paris Covid figures could mean tougher measures from Monday
French Health Minister Olivier Véran has declared that if the "worrying" Covid situation in Paris does not improve over the weekend, tougher measures will be announced on Monday.
The capital and its closest suburbs, comprising nearly seven million people, have already breached the maximum alert thresholds, Véran told a press conference.
"We need a few days to confirm the trends, but if they are confirmed, we'll have no choice but to put it on maximum alert, from Monday," he declared, suggesting that could mean "a total closure of bars."
According to the health authorities, the number of cases per 100,000 residents in Paris has risen to 259.6, above the alert threshold of 250.
The minister also explained that in Paris and the surrounding area, three out of every ten patients now in hospital emergency recovery wards are under the age of 65 - again above the critical level of 30 per cent.
Véran said he would consult with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo on Sunday to decide on any new regulations and that their effectiveness would be reviewed after 2 weeks.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Jean Castex met mayors and key representatives from many of France's major towns and cities and Véran said the government was now particularly concerned about the situation in Lille, Lyon, Grenoble, Toulouse and Saint Etienne.
There is also concern about the Hauts-de-France region, in the north of the country.
Véran signalled that these areas could also be subject to tougher rules next week if the current measures fail to stop the situation deteriorating.
Improvement in Marseille
However, figures from Marseille, Nice and Bordeaux, demonstrated what Véran called "the beginning of a slight improvement" in the rate of infection.
Bar and restaurant owners and staff in the city have since submitted suggestions to the government, in the hope that they might re open with stronger anti-Covid measures in place. Véran said he will examine the proposals and is likely to make an announcement on Sunday.
On testing, the health minister revealed that more than 60 per cent of people who tested positive were asymptomatic. He also announced that from Saturday, those forced to isolate after being in contact with a covid case can obtain a certificate online to show their employers.
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe