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Keeping the R number below 1 is essential in controlling the outbreak. If the number rises above 1 then every infected person will go on to infect more than one other person, and so the virus begins to spread again exponentially. Worryingly Public Health officials in France have stated the reproduction rate is now 1.05.
On July 10 health officials in France listed an additional 621 new cases of infection from the deadly pathogen.
The French government has now declared it may have to enforce another nationwide lockdown.
But, with the increase in the reproduction rate, now French authorities have called for the “greatest vigilance” as the country enters the holiday season.
The new Prime Minister Jean Castex said in an interview on RTL television: “My aim is to prepare France for a possible second wave while preserving our daily life, our economic and social life.
“But we’re not going to impose a lockdown like the one we did last March, because we’ve learned that the economic and human consequences from a total lockdown are disastrous.”
Mr Castex warned: “The coronavirus is still here.”
This Sunday he is travelling to France’s department in South America, French Guiana, to help the territory cope with a rising infection rate.
Jerome Salomon, the head of France’s national health agency, has predicted that there will be a second wave of infections hitting the country in the autumn or winter.
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This is because the virus may mimic the seasonal impact that the flu has.
In an interview with the Figaro newspaper, Mr Salomon said: “What we have to understand is that the epidemic’s resurgence will basically depend on our behaviour.”
He urged people to wear face masks, “especially in crowded places and indoors”.
Officials in France are now investigating 71 clusters in the country.
A cluster is defined by experts as, “the occurrence of at least three confirmed or probable cases, in a period of seven days, and which belong to the same community or have participated in the same gathering of people, whether they know each other or not”.
France has seen a total of 170,094 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection.
Tragically there have been 29,979 deaths from the virus in the country.
This is the world’s sixth-highest death toll.
The UK has had more deaths than France with 44,798 deaths.
The US is in first place for fatalities at standing at over 130,000
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