In its most recent update, health body Santé Publique France (SPF) confirmed that the number of cases was rising, and had climbed by 26% in the past week, compared to 18% and 11% in the two weeks before that.
This is a 66% rise over the three weeks overall.
This level, known as the “incidence rate”, is calculated by the number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants, in the last seven days. The rate has jumped especially among people aged 75 and over.
The incidence rate is rising faster than the number of tests (which themselves were up 3% in the week).
There have been 570 new “clusters” - localised outbreaks - identified across France since May 9, including 391 that are now “closed” (meaning under control and finished).
Health authority la Direction Générale de la Santé warned: “The virus is circulating across the entire country.”
SPF has said that the number of intensive care admissions “is no longer dropping”. Currently, there are 5,957 people in hospital for Covid-19-linked conditions, including 436 in intensive care.
Almost two thirds (71%) of these intensive care patients are in the regions of Ile-de-France, Grand-Est, and Hauts-de-France; and the overseas department of French Guiana.
Departments on alert
Figures suggest that the peak of the epidemic has now hit in the overseas departments of French Guiana and Mayotte.
In mainland France, the department of Mayenne - which has seen a spike in cases - is still judged to be at “high vulnerability” risk. Finistère, Gironde and Vosges have been classed as at “moderate vulnerability”.
In a statement, the ministry of health warned: “This overall trend shows that our recent behaviour (dropping of barrier methods, increasing the number of at-risk contacts) has been enabling the spread of the virus over several weeks.”
The statement comes after high-profile scientific advisor Professor Jean-Francois Defraissy warned that people were “abandoning” safety measures, which could have “consequences”.
There is as yet no official consensus from experts over whether a “second wave” of the epidemic is likely to occur, or if local or even national “reconfinement” measures may become necessary.
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