France mulls new lockdown on French Guiana as Covid-19 spreads

This photograph taken on June 20, 2020 shows a general view of the entrance to a hospital in Cayenne, French Guiana, during a curfew imposed by the prefectural and health authorities to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
This photograph taken on June 20, 2020 shows a general view of the entrance to a hospital in Cayenne, French Guiana, during a curfew imposed by the prefectural and health authorities to fight the spread of the coronavirus. © Jody Amiet, AFP

The coronavirus has been spreading faster in the last 10 days in French Guiana and the French government is not ruling out imposing a new lockdown on the overseas territory, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe's office said on Sunday.

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The prime minister's office also said in its statement that the government would be stepping up its resources to tackle the virus in the region, located on the northeastern coast of South America.

Guiana, which has a population of 300,000, has recorded 2,441 confirmed cases so far, including 1,511 patients who have since recovered. The number of cases has risen fourfold over the past two weeks.

A total of 111 Covid-19 patients have been hospitalised in the territory’s main hub, Cayenne, 14 of them in intensive care.

The worsening outbreak has led French authorities to postpone the second round of municipal elections, scheduled for June 28, across Guiana.

Space centre affected

Late on Sunday, Guiana’s Prefect Marc Del Grande, the territory’s top official, said a curfew would be “reinforced” in the town of Kourou, where France’s main space centre is located, amid a spike in infections there.

Kourou’s number of confirmed cases shot to 353 by Saturday evening, up from 69 on June 4. Local news site Guyaweb said those infected included six employees of the space centre, the main launch pad for European satellites.

Kourou now has Guiana’s second-highest per-capita number of cases after the small town of Saint-Georges de l'Oyapock, on the border with hard-hit Brazil, where 314 confirmed cases were reported on Saturday evening out of a total population of just 4,220.

Two people have died since June 13 at Kourou’s hospital, which does not have an intensive care unit. Both were aged over 80. The deaths bring Guiana's total number of fatalities from Covid-19 to seven.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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