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Map and Covid case figures for six 'concern areas' in southwest France

A rise in case numbers in specific departments is of concern, the government has announced, although overall figures for France show that the health situation is improving 

While an increase in circulation of Covid-19 in southwestern France (see map and case numbers below) is giving cause for concern, the figures are still much lower than they were at the autumn peak. 

The government announced yesterday that there were "warning signs" in a rise in Covid-19 cases in six Nouvelle Aquitaine departments: Charente, Charente-Maritime, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne and Pyrénées-Atlantiques. Upward shifts in parts of Occitanie were also noted.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the number of infections had risen 80% in a week in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques.

However, available figures from the regional health authority suggest the rate in the department has risen 36%.

According to the Covidtracker website, 107 new cases were reported, on average, over the past seven days, compared to more than 500 in November. Meanwhile, 91 patients are currently hospitalised, with nine in intensive care this month, compared to more than 300 hospitalisations and nearly 30 intensive care patients in the autumn.


Read more: Covid France: Alert as people relax guard and catch Covid after jab

And while upward signals have been noted in the other five departments in recent days, it is too early to suggest a trend. The incidence rate in all of them remains below the national average of 0.91, well below in some cases.

Mr Attal said that the Reproduction (R) rate of the virus had risen above 1 in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, indicating that it was spreading rather than declining. 

But the latest publicly available data for the region indicate an R rate of 0.94. These figures date to May 22 with more up-to-date numbers expected to be released soon.

Equally, despite concern over the data in southwest France, Mr Attal said 'encouraging' national figures indicate the virus is in decline. 

But he warned: "We must not proclaim victory too soon."

Read more: How is France tracking spread of Indian variant of Covid-19?

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