Issued on:

More than 2,500 new coronavirus cases were registered in France in 24 hours in the sharpest increase since May, government data showed on Wednesday, as officials said indicators were "clearly worsening".

Advertising Read more

Of 600,000 tests over the past week more than 11,600 were positive, the health ministry's DGS public health division said.

At 2.2 percent, the weekly rate of positives was up from 1.6 percent the week before, confirming "increased viral circulation", it added.

"Indicators used for tracking the epidemic on French territory have clearly worsened in recent days," the DGS said.

With August traditionally a month when many French people take weeks of summer holiday, "it's imperative that we keep up our efforts to avoid the epidemic picking up again, individually and collectively, everywhere and at all times", the DGS said.

Health officials have identified 18 new virus clusters in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 896 nationwide – although the number of patients in intensive care dropped slightly to 379, a level relatively steady since late July.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday that France will gradually ramp up police checks to ensure people wear face masks where it is mandatory and respect social distancing amid a new surge of Covid-19 infections. "We're at a tipping point […] We're going to mobilise police forces to make checks," Attal said.

This came after Prime Minister Jean Castex warned on Tuesday that Covid-19 could get out of hand if people do not take precautions: "If we don't act collectively, we expose ourselves to the heightened risk that the rebound in the epidemic becomes hard to control," he said during a visit to an intensive care ward in southern France.

Face masks became mandatory in outdoor Paris tourist hotspots on Monday as authorities try to curb the number of new infections. The order covers busy outdoor areas in the French capital including the banks of the River Seine Read More – Source