Covid-19 second wave 'not on horizon' in France

A second wave of Covid-19 is unlikely, although the virus is still circulating in France, according to a weekly update from national health body Santé Publique France (SPF).

1 July 2020
People relaxing on the grass in the Jardin du Luxembourg, Paris. Covid-19 second wave “not on horizon” in FranceA weekly report from Santé Publique France says although the risk of a second wave of Covid-19 is low, social distancing measures should still be maintained.
By Joanna York

A second wave of Covid-19 in France is "not on the horizon" in France as there is an “absence of signals suggesting a return of the epidemic", said Santé Publique France in a weekly update released on June 25.

It added that “epidemiological indicators are going down and at very low levels,” in France, even though Covid-19 infections have resurfaced in some areas in Europe.

The update comes as it was confirmed on Sunday (June 28) that there have been over 10 million official cases of Covid-19 worldwide, around 1.5 million of which were in Europe.

SPF confirmed there are 8,500 patients are currently hospitalised with the virus in France, with 602 in intensive care. 

Read more: France reports 216 Covid clusters, prompting health warning

Read more: Second Covid-19 wave risk for France in Autumn, warn experts

'Consistent' Covid-19 decrease in France

The report noted that Covid-19 numbers in France have been steadily decreasing for weeks. 

SPF wrote: “Since week 14 – the peak of the epidemic – the weekly number of confirmed cases has consistently gone down, going from reported 30,111 cases [in week 14] to 2,899 cases in week 24.”

Although the virus continues to circulate in France, it is focused in certain areas and transmission rates remain low. 

The report says since May 9, 252 clusters have been identified in French cities, with 95 still considered active. Even so, the R number in French cities (indicating an average of how many others are likely to be infected by a single sick person) has remained below 1. 

(Covid-19 clusters considered active in France, excluding care homes, from May 9 – June 24 Image: Santé Publique France (Source MONIC) / Covid-19 report, 25 June 2020) 

Circulation still high in French Guiana and Mayotte

However, French overseas territories French Guiana and Mayotte are still suffering high infection rates.

In French Guiana, bars are closed and targeted lockdowns are in place to help control 12 identified Covid-19 clusters.

But infection numbers are still intensifying in French Guiana, and SPF noted that there are “worries” and “tensions” over how those patients are being cared for.

In the past week, positive test results in the territory have risen to 27%, from 22% the previous week. Hospitalisations for Covid-19 are also up, especially in intensive care. Additionally, reported cases have risen from 88 to 308 per 100,000 inhabitants.

In mainland France reported cases are currently at 4.9 per 100,000.

In Mayotte, the epidemic is still circulating at higher levels than in mainland France, but improving, according to the report.


Health precautions still necessary

Santé Publique France advised that, although the risk of contracting the virus has gone down in mainland France, its continued circulation meant people should “maintain vigilance and continue to adopt advised prevention measures” to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

These include regular hand-washing, wearing masks, and maintaining social distancing measures. 

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