Faced with a growth in coronavirus cases, the French government has ruled out a second lockdown, even going so far as to say that there is not a second wave but a continuous big one.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said that a full confinement must be “avoided above all,” citing the dangers of an economic and social catastrophe.

“We now know what this would mean: such a measure stops the epidemic from progressing, certainly, but at an economic and social level it is catastrophic including for the psychological health of some of our fellow citizens,” Castex said in an interview with Nice Matin.

He added: “The priority is still prevention. Even if the number of [confirmed] cases has begun to rise, the positive tests remain in the low averages compared to those in neighbouring countries. And the number of hospital admissions remains under control”. The number of patients in intensive care continues to fall while the daily death rate has dipped below 20 in recent days.

“We will adapt,” Castex said.

So far, France has registered just over 30,000 coronavirus deaths, compared to more than 45,000 in the UK, although new infections have been rising faster in France.

Economic concerns were highlighted on Thursday when several major French companies declared substantial losses for the first half of the year. Renault, Total, Airbus, EDF, ArcelorMittal, Veolia and Safran reported 17.3 billion euros in cumulative losses in the first half.

PHOTO: French Prime Minister Jean Castex