France estimates over 6.7% of population had coronavirus

Some 4.4 million people, or 6.7 per cent of the population of mainland France were likely infected with the coronavirus by mid-April, health authorities said on Friday.

The figure was estimated on the basis of a campaign of antibody testing, Sante Publique France (Public Health France) said in its weekly epidemiological update.

France was one of the European countries hardest hit by Covid-19, with 29,979 deaths recorded as of Thursday. A strict lockdown was in place from mid-March to mid-May.

Sante Publique France warned that the number of confirmed cases was now rising again in mainland France, but remained at a low level.

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Surveys showed that compliance with several preventive measures, including avoiding handshakes and keeping at least 1 metre from other people, was declining, although mask wearing was stable.

The body warned that the epidemic has continued to spread in the South American territory of French Guiana.

Unlike in mainland France, the disease was circulating in the community there and rates of hospitalisation and admissions to intensive care were on the rise, Sante Publique France said.

France’s new Prime Minister, Jean Castex, is due to visit the territory on Sunday along with Health Minister Olivier Veran.


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