Wearing masks compulsory in parts of Paris region from Monday, says police

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Wearing a mask will be compulsory in parts of Paris and its wider region from Monday to combat a rise in coronavirus infections in and around the French capital, the police said.

The mask will be obligatory for all those aged 11 and over from 8:00 am (0600 GMT) Monday “in certain very crowded zones,” the police said in a statement on Saturday, without yet detailing which areas were affected.

“All the indicators show that since mid-July the virus is again circulating more actively in the region,” the police said, adding that 400 people were testing positive for COVID-19 in the region every day, with the 20-30 age group particularly affected.

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It noted that the rate of positive tests in Paris was 2.4 percent in the Paris region, compared to the national average of 1.6 percent.

Paris’ Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo had already called on the police to make mask wearing compulsory in parts of the French capital, notably on the Seine river embankment and in open-air markets.

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Since last month, it had already been compulsory to wear a mask in indoor public spaces such as shops across the country.

But several French cites have gone a step further by making mask-wearing obligatory in certain public spaces, notably in Nice and Marseille on the Mediterranean and Lille in the northeast.

France emerged relatively swiftly from its two-month lockdown to combat the virus, and life has generally returned to almost normal with a busy domestic holiday season in progress.

But officials are increasingly concerned with the increasing rate of new infections, in a country which has now seen 30,324 coronavirus deaths.

France on Friday reported 2,288 new infections, a stark increase on the daily figure from previous weeks.

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The government’s COVID-19 scientific council warned this week that France could “at any moment” lose control over the spread of the coronavirus.

Developments are being closely watched in Britain, where press reports have suggested the government could add France to a list of countries from where inbound travelers will need to quarantine for two weeks.

On Thursday, Norway said people travelling from France and a handful of other European countries would have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, citing an epidemic trend that “is moving in the wrong direction.”

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