Following the worrying situation in Spain, other European countries have been put on alert as coronavirus cases rise around the world. It is now accepted countries will experience second waves as lockdown restrictions ease, and the virus will certainly be with us for a while longer.
Despite the decline in new cases in the UK, cases are on the rise around the world.
It took only five months for worldwide cases of the disease to reach five million cases – but it has taken only one month for that number to double to ten million.
Now, top ministers in France have urged the French public not to let the ball drop when it comes to COVID-19, serving a reminder social distancing must be adhered to wherever possible.
Some 30,000 people have died in France from coronavirus so far.
Is France going back into lockdown?
France is not currently in lockdown, and the UK has not placed any restrictions on travelling there.
France is currently taking similar mitigation measures to the UK, such as mandatory face masks in indoor public places and shops.
France has reopened its bars, cafes and restaurants, and lifted travel restrictions, nearly three months after entering one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe.
The Eiffel Tower is welcoming visitors, while the Pompidou Centre opened on July 1 and the Louvre opened on July 6.
France reported 1,130 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, a disconcerting increase after just more than 1,000 new infections on Thursday and less than 1,000 the previous day.
The daily average was about 500 cases until a week ago.
The health ministry said there had been a 66 percent increase in cases over three weeks.
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A delay between people becoming infected and displaying symptoms meant the virus had likely been circulating “for several weeks already”.
Health Minister Olivier Véran told LCI television: “We are not facing a second wave, the epidemic is continuing… Some people do not respect the rules. We must not let down our guard.
“We do not want to resort to another lockdown, we are examining the situation on a case-by-case basis. The war is not over.
“People must understand that we are going to live with this virus for a fairly long time.”
A day after the UK Government enforced quarantine measures on Spain, Prime Minister Jean Castex, told the Nice-Matin newspaper that a new lockdown could not be ruled out, but stressed that the Government’s priority was “prevention”.
He said: “What we must avoid above all is a general lockdown.
“Such a measure breaks the spread of the epidemic, certainly, but it is catastrophic on an economic and social level, including for the psychological health of some of our fellow citizens.”
“There are simple things to do and not to do, which are called barrier gestures, until the day when a vaccine is discovered.”
Mr Castex said France would strive to avoid a national lockdown but may impose “localised lockdowns” in areas where infections surge.
With regards to travel from the UK, travellers between the two countries are not required to quarantine on arrival or return.
A senior Government source told the Telegraph it could be possible that other countries are removed from the list of exemptions over the coming weeks and months.
The source said: “It’s a fast-moving situation and what has happened with Spain has shown that wherever there are data changes we will act quickly and change the travel advice immediately.
“So it’s fair to say other countries could go back on the quarantine list.
“You can see the evidence of where spikes are happening and that does tend to be reflected in the travel advice.”
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