France Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced this morning that face masks will have to be worn inside from next week. President Emmanuel Macron previously revealed he wanted to introduce the measure in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus. He initially set August 1 as the deadline for the face mask rule, but this has now been brought forward.
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France currently has 210,568 confirmed cases of coronavirus and sadly 20,123 deaths so far.
“We have some signs that it’s coming back a bit,” Macron said in an interview with French broadcasters earlier this week, reported French news site France 24.
“Faced with that, we must anticipate and prepare.
“I want us, in the next few weeks, to make masks compulsory in enclosed public places.
“I ask fellow citizens to wear masks as much as possible when they are outside, and especially so when they are in an enclosed space.”
Until now, anyone in France was required to wear face masks on public transport and in public spaces where social distancing is not possible.
Masks are also compulsory in taxis and private hire vehicles without a plexiglass screen.
The rule did not previously apply to shops – but it will from next week.
The same regulation will apply to Britons on the UK from July 24.
Macron also said this week that he wanted coronavirus testing to made available to everyone.
Doctors have previously complained about France’s delay in introducing tougher face mask measures.
“Applying this measure is urgent,” said Antoine Pelissolo, one of several doctors who signed a letter, published on Saturday in Le Parisien, warning of a return of the pandemic.
“We know that any moment there could be a resurgence of the epidemic. Losing time is harmful.”
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Some areas of France have already ordered the wearing of masks.
Authorities in parts of the northwestern French region of Mayenne implemented the rule today after a rise of coronavirus infections there.
The Mayenne prefecture said masks would be compulsory in its main city Laval as well as five other municipalities – Bonchamp-lès-Laval, Changé, L’Huisserie, Louverné and Saint-Berthevin.
“In Mayenne, the situation is problematic today,” French health minister Olivier Veran told France Inter radio.
Face coverings must securely cover your nose and mouth to be effective and fit securely around your face.
Scientific data shows face coverings can help prevent the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain situations.
The UK government’s advice states: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) can spread predominantly by droplets from coughs, sneezes and speaking.
It adds: “Because face coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing.”
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