THOUSANDS of Brits heading to Brittany for summer holidays were today warned about a sharp Coronavirus spike that could signal a new lockdown in the hugely popular French region.
At least 110 new cases of Covid-19 have been detected since July 10, and the disease’s Reproduction – or R – value rose from 0.92 to 2.62 in the four days up to July 14, according to government figures.
This means that an infected person is likely to pass the disease on to between two and three other people.
An R value of less than 1 is needed to gradually contain the disease, as the French thought they were doing since slowly coming out of lockdown from May.
Infectious disease specialist at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, Eric Caumes, said: "It's a worrying number because it means the epidemic is taking off again."
The news will be alarming for Brits with 14,000 of them living there and 10,000 with second homes in the area.
Thousands more normally flock there on ferries or through the Channel Tunnel at this time of year to enjoy countryside and beaches
But with the area now at high risk, local mayors are introducing new emergency barrier measures, especially in Finistère, the idyllic coastal department.
'NOT GOOD ENOUGH'
New rules include people being forced to wear face masks in some 25 open markets, despite new regulations making masks mandatory in France only applying to enclosed places.
The mayors have also warned arriving holidaymakers, including ones from the UK, to be extremely wary, and to self-isolate if necessary.
But some in the scientific community believe it may be too little, too late.
Epidemiologist Catherine Hill, who works for the French medical security agency ASME, said: "In Finistère, the screening services say they are already overwhelmed.
"It’s crazy – we have to do something about that.
"We must give them the means, and we must be more energetic and quicker. We have the masks, but we can’t test properly – this is not good enough."
Ms Hill called for widespread testing, especially in areas such as Brittany which are now officially Coronavirus ‘red’ zones.
The new figures were posted online by France’s Ministry of Health as part of a weekly update of epidemic indicators.
More than 30,000 people have died from Coronvarius in France since the start of the pandemic earlier this year.
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