France will make the wearing of face masks compulsory in indoor public places from next week, the government said Thursday as it noted “signs” of an uptick in the coronavirus outbreak.
Already obligatory gear on trains, metros and buses, masks will now also become mandatory in shops, supermarkets and other enclosed spaces frequented by the public, Prime Minister Jean Castex said in the Senate.
“The wearing of a mask, along with barrier measures (such as social distancing and regular handwashing) is an effective method of prevention and protection,” he said.
The announcement came as Health Minister Olivier Veran noted signs of a “resurgence” in the coronavirus epidemic that has claimed 30,120 lives in France to date.
Constant “vigilance” was required by all, he told MPs, “at a time when a certain number of indicators seem to show that there are signs of a resurgence” of the virus.
Veran earlier told public radio that: “We are witnessing in certain hospitals in Paris weak signs of an epidemic resurgence, which is why I urge the French to remain particularly vigilant, active, against the virus.”
An outbreak hotspot has been reported in Mayenne, northern France, where indoor mask-wearing became compulsory with immediate effect already on Thursday.
According to the latest official data, released Wednesday, France had 133 new coronavirus patients hospitalised in 24 hours, and 17 more people in intensive care, for a total of 482.
This was down from a high of 4,281 people hospitalised in one day in April, and more than 7,100 people in intensive care at the height of the epidemic.