French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that the wearing of masks in public will now be compulsory, with the new measures taking effect from August 1.
The measure, aimed at preventing a so-called ‘second wave’ of coronavirus, primarily targets enclosed public spaces but could also apply to public events held outdoors. Macron’s comments come on Bastille Day, the national day of France.
“We took the most radical and yet the most basic measure: confinement, with its health, psychological and social consequences,” Macron said, referring to the country’s prolonged lockdown.
We must continue to put barriers in place [to stop a second wave]. We already see vulnerabilities. I hope that, in the coming weeks, the mask will be mandatory in closed public places.
Speaking in a television interview, Macron added that France would be among the first countries to have access to a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by French pharmaceutical company Sanofi.
The president said he hopes to make testing available for all French citizens in the near future, adding that he believes the country will be ready if a second wave of coronavirus hits.
Macron cited signs that Covid-19 is returning as the reason behind the decision to require citizens to wear masks in public.
The French president also claimed that work on a long-term furlough scheme to keep people employed was underway, but he did not offer any further detail.
Behind Spain and Italy, France was among the hardest-hit European nations at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
At present, the country has recorded some 209,000 Covid-19 cases and over 30,000 fatalities due to the virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.
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