France confirms new total of 257 coronavirus cases and new cluster zones

France confirms new total of 257 coronavirus cases and new cluster zones

French health chiefs said the number of coronavirus cases in the country had reached 257 on Wednesday, many of which were concentrated in five cluster zones, The Local France reports.

The number of coronavirus cases in France continued to rise as health authorities on Wednesday confirmed a total of 257 cases since the outbreak began in January - up by 45 since Tuesday's total of 212.

Two new cluster zones (areas with a high concentration of cases) had been added on the Santé Publique France's website, raising the total number of cluster zones in France to five. 

Four of the five cluster zones are in the départements of Oise in the north, Morbihan in Brittany, Haute-Savoie in the Alps and Haut-Rhin in the east. 

Government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye said on Wednesday it "unfortunately seems unlikely" that France could avoid stage 3 - a full blown epidemic.

Four people have so far died of the virus, with the latest case confirmed by health authorities on Tuesday - a 92-year-old man in Morbihan in Brittany. 

Measures to contain the virus in France were stepped up this week. Around 100 schools have been closed in the worst affected areas.

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