More fears for holidaymakers to France as Covid hospitalisations RISE in the country for the first time since lockdown was lifted as UK considers imposing quarantine on returning travellers
- Yesterday France recorded 34 new Covid-19 hospitalisations since Friday
- In the last week, it has seen over 10,000 new Covid-19 cases, up from the previous week’s 7,391, raising fears it could be chalked off the UK’s ‘green list’
- This would mean that UK travellers returning from France would have to isolate
- France’s Prime Minister today announced he wanted more masks worn in public
The number of people in French hospitals with Covid-19 rose by 34 to 5,045 over the weekend, the nation’s health ministry announced on Monday.
On Tuesday, however, it leveled out again as 33 people with Covid-19 left hospital, leaving 5,012 patients in hospital according France’s health ministry website.
French health authorities also reported 1,397 new COVID-19 infections over 24 hours on Tuesday, almost twice Monday’s tally of 785.
The rising coronavirus numbers in France has led to fears that the UK government could remove the country from the travel ‘green list’ this week, impacting potentially hundreds of thousands of Britons and their holiday plans.
Removal from the list would mean that travellers returning to the UK from France would have to quarantine on their return.
Downing Street reminded potential holidaymakers last night that ‘there is no risk free way of travelling overseas’ with Prime Minister Boris Johnson adding that he ‘would not hesitate’ to bring in travel restrictions for other countries.
The latest data on coronavirus cases on foreign soil will be analysed by the Government’s Joint Biosecurity Centre (JCB), which meets today, and Downing Street’s decision on an updated quarantine list will be public in the coming days.
Meanwhile, France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex today announced that he wanted more masks worn in public places to prevent ‘a high risk of epidemic resumption’.
Beachgoers enjoy a hot day in the sun at a beach in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southern France, Tuesday, Aug 11, 2020. The hot weather is expected to last for several days across the country. France has seen a rise of 10,002 new Covid-19 cases in the last week, a worrying increase after the previous week’s 7,391
Rising cases: Spain has suffered a severe spike in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, as this graph shows, while France, Germany and Italy have also seen upticks in new infections
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pictured today, has said he ‘would not hesitate’ to impose quarantine restrictions on other countries currently on the UK’s travel ‘green list’
UK Ministers are believed to be planning new measures for a swathe of countries that also includes Switzerland, Poland and the Netherlands amid a surge in European coronavirus cases.
They could join Spain and its islands on the list of countries where returnees will face 14 days of self-isolation, possibly putting their jobs at risk.
It came as Boris Johnson warned that ministers will ‘not hesitate’ to impose a quarantine system for travellers from other countries to the UK if needed.
Speaking on a visit to a school in Upminster, Essex, he said: ‘I don’t want to advise people about their individual holidays, individual decisions, they should look at the travel advice from the Foreign Office clearly.
‘But what I will say, and I hope people would expect us to do this, in the context of a global pandemic, we’ve got to keep looking at the data in all the countries to which British people want to travel.
‘Where it is necessary to impose restrictions or to impose a quarantine system, we will not hesitate to do so.
Spain has already been hit with new travel restrictions in a blow to its tourism-reliant economy, while there are fears that France, Germany or Holland could be put back on the UK’s quarantine list after spikes in cases there.
Summer holidays have been blamed for rising cases in Germany and Italy, while France has tightened its face mask rules in tourist hotspots such as Paris and the Mediterranean resort of Saint Tropez.
However, Europe has yet to see a major spike in deaths or hospital cases, amid signs that many of those testing positive are young and less vulnerable to the disease.
France has piled up 10,002 new cases in the last week, the highest number since April and a sharp increase from 7,391 the week before.
The government’s Covid-19 scientific council warned last week that France could ‘at any moment’ lose control over the spread of the disease.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex (L) is helped by a member of staff to put on protective gear during his visit to the CHU hospital in Montpellier, southern France, August 11, 2020. France has recorded its first rise of Covid-19 hospitalisations since lifting its lockdown in June
In addition to the new cases of coronavirus infections, France’s Health Ministry website said there were 15 new deaths in hospital due the disease, compared to an increase of 16 over a three-day period between Monday and Saturday, with the total death toll standing at 30,354.
The number of people hospitalised for the disease went down again after creeping up Monday for the first time in two and a half months.
In response to the rising figures, France’s prime minister said on Tuesday he wanted more masks worn in public places to prevent ‘a high risk of epidemic resumption’ as health authorities warned coronavirus circulation was picking up again.
Visiting the southern city of Montpellier, Jean Castex said the country must act collectively, and ‘vigorously’ to beat back a pandemic that has already claimed more than 30,300 lives in France.
To this end, he will ask local authorities ‘to extend as far as possible the obligation to wear masks in public spaces.’
Local authorities have been given the legal authority to impose mask-wearing on citizens.
Masks are already obligatory nationwide on public transport and in enclosed spaces such as shops, banks and government offices.
Some cities and towns have also made them compulsory in certain outdoor spaces, such as along the banks of the Seine River in Paris and around its main tourist hotspots.
People wear protective face masks in front of the Eiffel Tower, as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in France, August 9, 2020
Children and parents cool off in a swimming pool on the Canal de l’Ourcq in Paris, Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020. Temperatures in Paris were expected to hit 100.4 Fahrenheit on Tuesday. France’s rising case number could see it lose its place on the UK’s travel green list, forcing returning holidaymakers to isolate on their arrival back to the UK
Castex said that unless French people acted individually and collectively, ‘we expose ourselves to a high risk of epidemic resumption that will be difficult to control.
‘It will once again put pressure on… hospital services, it will also place pressure on our economy, our education system, our collective and cultural life,’ he said after taking part in a meeting of President Emmanuel Macron’s defence council of senior ministers to discuss the virus.
He also announced that a ban on public gatherings of more than 5,000 people, such as sporting events or concerts, will now run until October 30 and not be lifted at the end of this month as originally planned.
Over the weekend, some 10,000 people flouted the ban to gather for an illegal rave party on a remote mountain plateau in France’s least populated department, the Lozere, sparking anger from locals so far spared the worst of the outbreak.
France’s health ministry said Monday that 10,800 new coronavirus cases had been identified in the past week, and warned that ‘circulation of the virus is intensifying, notably among young people and in certain regions such as the metropolitan areas of Paris and Marseille.’
It said mask wearing was ‘a gesture of common sense’ in crowded places and when a safe physical distance between people cannot be observed.
‘Adolescents and young adults, less at risk of developing serious forms of the disease, can contribute to spreading it and infecting their loved ones – parents, grandparents and other vulnerable people for whom the consequences could be serious,’ the ministry said.