France virus cases 'growing fastest among young people'

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 14 2020 05:11 AM

People sunbathe at 'Couchant or Sunset beach' in a roped-off distancing zone marked out by the municipality along the beaches in La Grande Motte, southern France, on May 21, 2020, as the nation eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. The local municipality dubbed this set up 'organized beaches', the first in France to implement separated zones for beachgoers in order to respect social distancing. Clement Mahoudeau, AFP/File

PARIS - French health authorities warned Thursday that new coronavirus cases were rising fastest among younger people, as the number of confirmed infections per day continued to tick up.

In mainland France, the pace of growth in cases in the week of August 3-9 was fastest among people aged 15-44, the health ministry's DGS public health arm said, calling it a "troubling situation".

In total 2,669 tests had come back positive in the past 24 hours, it added, pointing to "regular growth" in daily new cases.

The figure was higher than Wednesday's 2,524, which itself had been the highest since May.

Among the new infections were 50 gendarmes based in Tarbes, southwest France, out of a group of 82 who had just returned from a deployment in Polynesia, the prefecture in the Hautes-Pyrenees department said.

Richard Peabody, an epidemiologist leading the High Threat Pathogens Team at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, warned that laxer respect for infection control measures was leading to increased case numbers across the continent.

"If you take... the pressure off the virus, then it will come back," he said, calling on European governments to be mindful of the lessons learnt in the first months of the pandemic.

So far almost 30,400 people have died of coronavirus in France -- 17 in the past 24 hours -- and 374 are presently in intensive care.