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France Covid-19 update: Bans on sharing food and socialising

Latest figures show Covid-19 cases are rising throughout France, new nationwide restrictions expected to be be announced today - and one prefecture bans cheese boards.

The latest Covid-19 figures for France from health body Santé publique France (SPF) were released on September 22.

They show that in the 24 hours prior to their release there were: 

  • 10,008 new cases in France, meaning a rise of almost 5,000 from the previous day. However, Monday’s figures are often lower than the rest of the week.
  • A rise of 141 patients hospitalised with Covid-19 bringing the total to 4,244
  • A rise of 13 patients in intensive care, bringing the total to 651
  • 61 new Covid-19 clusters, bringing the total to 1,031

The positivity rate in France, meaning the percentage of tests that come back positive, has risen from 5.9% to 6.1%.

National restrictions expected

The government is expected to announce new nationwide restrictions in France today (September 23), as Covid-19 cases continue to rise.

This interactive map of restrictions shows which restrictions are currently in place in different places in France.

Lyon: ‘Plan blanc’ initiated in hospitals

Rising cases in the Rhône department caused hospital collective Les Hospices Civils de Lyon to announce yesterday (September 22) they have initiated their plan blanc. In a statement, the collective said it had done this to combat “rising demand for hospital services by patients with Covid-19”.

The plan blanc means hospitals can take exceptional measures in the context of the current health crisis such as reorganising spaces to include more beds, transferring non-urgent patients to other services, and postponing non-urgent operations. The plan in hospitals in the Rhône also includes raising the number of beds in intensive care from 139 to 199.

The rate of incidence in the Rhône department is 182.8 per 100,000 inhabitants. Using this measure, it is the third worst-affected area in France, behind Guadeloupe and the Bouches-du-Rhône (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur). 

In Lyon the rate of incidence is 123 for 100,000 inhabitants, rising to 242 in the commune of Villeurbanne. The positivity rate is 10.2% in Lyon and 11.3% in Villeurbanne.

Read more: Hospitals in France initiate ‘plan blanc’ as Covid returns

Gard: Prefecture bans sharing plates

A new law from the prefecture in Gard (Occitanie) will place restrictions on social gatherings, including a ban on sharing food.

The law, which comes into effect from midnight tonight (September 23), will ban sharing plates in bars and restaurants such as “cheese and charcuterie boards, snack plates, cocktail receptions and smoking shisha”.

In addition, the ban targets dance parties and student parties in public places. Food shops and restaurants will only be able to open from 6:00-midnight, and mask-wearing will be mandatory during these hours in the communes of Nîmes, Alès and Bagnols-sur-Cèze.

In Gard, the rate of incidence is 89.5 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Alpes-Maritimes: Whole department under same restrictions as Nice

From Tuesday, restrictions in place in Nice will apply to the entire Alpes-Maritimes department. These include:

  • No alcohol to be sold after 20:00
  • A limit of 1,000 people at public events
  • Bans on meeting in social groups of over 10 people on beaches, docks, parks and gardens

Paris: New restrictions expected

It is thought that new restrictions, similar to those in Nice, Lyon and Marseille could come into force in Paris this week.

Saint-Tropez: Increased mask-wearing for annual regatta

Authorities in Saint-Tropez have extended the perimeter of the mandatory mask-wearing zone to include the Voiles de Saint-Tropez regatta. 

The free boat race has taken place annually for over 30 years. This year, however, crowds will be limited to fewer than 5,000 people following an order from the prefecture. Boats will also be limited. Last year 300 crafts participated.

This year the event will take place over two weeks (September 26–October 10) for the first time.


Guadeloupe: Sixteen deaths in one week

The prefecture in Guadeloupe confirmed yesterday that there had been 16 deaths caused by Covid-19 in the week of September 14-20. 

This is the highest death toll the overseas region has experienced during the pandemic so far, and brings its total number of Covid-19 deaths to 42.

The prefecture noted that the 16 deaths were among those with pre-existing health conditions that made them particularly vulnerable to the virus.

Brittany: Authorities advise against gatherings with over 10 people

In response to rising cases, local health authority the Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS) in Brittany said yesterday (September 22) that people should “limit private gatherings of more than 10 friends and family members”.

It added: “For some weeks the circulation on Covid-19 has been intensifying in the region.”

The incidence rate in Brittany is currently at 54 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and the rate of positivity is at 4.2%.

In Rennes, 47 cases were confirmed among medical students at l’Université Rennes 1 on Tuesday. This is in addition to the earlier 43 cases among medical students at the university reported on September 13. The students were contaminated while socialising in bars in the town centre. 

The incidence rate in Rennes is significantly higher than in the rest of the region at 142 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.  

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