On Friday, September 18, French health authorities announced the highest count of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases since the beginning of the pandemic at 13,215. Data from Public Health France also confirmed 154 related deaths over the same period, bringing the total death count to 31,294 out of a total of 428,696 cases.
Authorities in the Alpes-Maritimes department city of Nice announced on September 18, that local COVID-19 restrictions have been increased following a surge in cases in the area. From Friday, gatherings of more than ten people will be banned, including in private outdoor places, and maximum attendance at public events will be reduced to 1000 from the national limit of 5000. Stores will also be restricted from selling alcohol after 20:00 (local time), while bars will be required to close from 00:30 to 06:00 and have been prohibited from playing amplified music.
The move follows the tightening of COVID-19 restrictions in other French cities with increasing rates of infections over the last week, including Marseille and Bordeaux. The additional measures include tighter limits on public gatherings and attendance at sporting events. Additional restrictions are also expected to be introduced in Lyon on Friday but are yet to be announced.
Other COVID-19 restrictions remain in place at the national level, including the compulsory use of face masks in all enclosed public spaces and public transport.
Further international spread of the disease is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, or a rash on the skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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