France to test 1.3 million in Paris to root out COVID-19 clusters

France is stepping up efforts to root out hidden clusters of coronavirus infections by offering tests to nearly 1.3 million people in the Paris region, AP reports.

The expansion of France’s testing program was announced Thursday by the health minister, Olivier Véran, in an interview with the newspaper Le Monde. Health authorities will send out coupons that people can exchange for a test.

“The aim is to identify any sleeping clusters, that’s to say invisible concentrations of asymptomatic people,” Veran was quoted as saying.

The minister said France is also arming itself for the possibility of a second wave of infections, reconstituting its stocks of medicines and making plans to be able to treat 30,000 people in intensive care if necessary.

France had more than 7,000 patients in intensive care at the peak in April of its outbreak that has killed nearly 30,000 people. That figure is now down to under 700.

Image: European Commission

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