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Corona Crisis: COVID-19 tests offered to Paris 'beach' goers

Paris, France: Parisians heading to the opening of Paris Plages, the yearly transformation of sections of the Seine river into a man-made beach, were met with a new attraction on Saturday July 18: COVID-19 test centres.

A series of indicators across the country, including the French capital, have suggested the virus could once again be gaining momentum. Authorities are pushing an aggressive testing policy to avoid a return to the peaks seen between March to May. The artificial beaches on the banks of the Seine in central Paris and the Bassin de la Villette, a man-made lake in the north-east of the city, have been a big success since they were launched by Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe in 2002.

As well as sand and views of central Paris' architecture, Paris Plage offers sporting opportunities such as fencing, giant table-football, and open-air gyms looking out over the Seine, although this year the tighter health restrictions have limited some of the activities. Medical teams are now in place at two locations until the end of August offering serological and standard PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests with a capacity to do carry out between 150 to 200 a day.

The disease has killed more than 30,000 people in France.
While it has been under control with fatalities and number of people in intensive care falling, daily cases have increased ahead of the summer holiday season, where people are gathering in larger groups and travellers to and from France have been allowed back into the country without specific quarantine periods.

Kais Arbi, 25, who lives in a northwestern Parisian suburb, took the test knowing that he was travelling to see his family in Tunisia in the coming weeks. "I was already going to get tested no matter what, and I passed by here, and I was planning to get tested in the next two weeks since I'm planning to travel. I want get tested more as a security measure for my family in the country where I'm travelling, although it's not mandatory for the moment. I still prefer to protect them and myself and reduce the risk of spreading the virus to another country." said Kais Arbi.

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