One of the most famous nudist colonies in Europe has reported a “very worrying” outbreak of coronavirus – leading to warnings to people to stay away.
Managers of the Cap d’Agde resort, which welcomes around 35,000 visitors every summer, admit that so-called “barrier gestures” are all but impossible among naturists.
Rates of infection are now four times that of nearby communities, with almost 100 holidaymakers so far testing positive.
This has led to an emergency announcement by health officials from the department which covers Cap d’Agde, on the Mediterranean coast near Montpellier, and warnings that visitors must social distance and wear face masks at the resort.
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At least 95 people have tested positive at the resort, with more results due this week.
It is in addition to about 50 people who reported falling ill after returning home from Cap d’Agde.
A spokesman for the Herault Prefecture said: “We are in an alarming situation, therefore we ask that all the people of the village be tested before leaving the place and going elsewhere.
“And we also ask all the people who wish to come to this naturist village to postpone their arrival.”
There were 57 positive tests on site last Wednesday alone.
At least two infected people work at prestigious hotels in the Cap d’Agde, said the Prefecture spokesman, who added that the figures were ‘very worrying’.
The naturist beach at Cap d’Agde is around a mile long, and is bordered by restaurants and bars.
Informal rules require nudity of all visitors, include those who use attached campsites, flats and villas.
The Naturist Village at Cap d’Agde markets itself as a family resort, although there have been high-profile incidents of so-called swingers and libertines visiting too.
The outbreak of Covid-19 at Cap d’Agde comes as France reports almost 4,900 new Coronavirus cases over 24 hours, its highest figure since May.
Olivier Veran, the Health Minister, acknowledged on Sunday there were “many risks” in the surging infection rate.
There have been 30,518 Coronavirus related deaths in France since the start of the pandemic in March – the third highest toll in Europe after Britain and Italy.
The country, which had one of the strictest lockdowns until May, has also recorded more than 240,000 Covid-19 infections.
Like neighbouring Spain, cases have soared in recent weeks, leading to tighter restrictions and the UK putting France back on its travel quarantine list.
The average number of new cases over seven days is now more than 2,000 – double what it was at the start of August.
French authorities will in coming days reciprocate Britain’s decision to impose a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from France.
French Junior European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told France 2: “We will have a measure called reciprocity so that our British friends do not close the border in one single way.
“For travellers returning from the United Kingdom, there will probably be restrictive measures decided in the next few days by the Prime Minister and by the Defence Council.”
Face masks have been compulsory in all indoor spaces in France since July 20, with limited exceptions.
They are also required in outdoor markets and busy streets in major cities including Paris.
From September 1, face masks will be compulsory in most workplaces.