Macron backs mandatory face masks indoors as virus picks up

AFP , Tuesday 14 Jul 2020

France's President Emmanuel Macron, left, and France's Prime Minister Jean Castex, wear face mask, at the end of the Bastille Day military parade, Tuesday, July 14, 2020 in Paris. (Photo: AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that he favours making face masks mandatory in public indoor spaces to curtail the coronavirus pandemic, warning there were signs infections in France were picking up again.

"I would like to make masks mandatory in all enclosed public spaces," he said in a televised interview, saying such a measure could come into force from August 1.

Responding to concerns that infections are again on the up in France he added: "We have indications that (the outbreak) is accelerating a bit."

He said in particular that the virus reproduction rate, the "R" ratio, had risen above one in France, meaning that a single person infected with COVID-19 is likely spreading the disease to others.

Masks are already required on public transport across France, "but it's a little spotty in enclosed public spaces", Macron acknowledged.

Prominent doctors urged the government this week to require masks in order to prevent a second wave of cases that could again overwhelm hospitals.

The mayor of Saint-Ouen, a suburb just north of Paris, on Monday made masks mandatory after several coronavirus cases were discovered at a school.

Asked if France had enough face masks in case of a new spike in cases, Macron said: "We will be ready."

"We have secured both the stocks and the supply sources, and we are organised on the ground, to allow us to deal with an upsurge, if it comes," he said in a rare televised interview to mark the Bastille Day national holiday.

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