Authorities have announced that from Tuesday, October 6, Paris will be placed in the highest level of alert for two weeks amid a recent spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the capital. From Tuesday, bars, gyms, and swimming pools will be closed with restaurants being allowed to remain open providing strict hygiene policies are adhered to. The increased alert level was triggered in Paris as the city has exceeded the maximum allowable infection rates of 100 per 100,000 people. The measures will be reviewed by authorities following the two-week closure.
France has been divided into four "danger zones" by alert level; 69 departments out of 101 are in the "alert" zone level, Paris and multiple other cities have been placed under the "enhanced alert level", and Marseille and Guadeloupe have been put on "maximum" alert level. Local authorities may enforce tougher measures to curb the spread of the virus.
On 26 September Marseille, France's second city, closed all bars, restaurants, and gyms for two weeks. Public venues including theatres, museums, and cinemas have also had to close unless they could introduce strict anti-viral measures.
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. Many cities and regions have extended this to include outdoor public spaces. Individuals should continue to observe social distancing measures.
As of Monday, October 5, the total number of confirmed cases in France stands at 658,800 with 32,246 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in 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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