Paris – French Prime Minister Jean Castex, on Thursday said he had asked police to work on a decree making face masks obligatory outdoors everywhere in Paris and its inner suburbs.
Castex who disclosed this in press conference, said the measure appeared urgent, detailing the government’s measures to combat the coronavirus as workplaces and schools return from the summer holidays.
“Face masks are already obligatory outdoors everywhere in France’s second city, Marseille,“he said.
However, experts disagree about the usefulness of the measure as the virus was generally thought to be spread primarily indoors.
The premier said that masks would also be obligatory in all work spaces where more than one person was present, although he took off his own mask to address the press conference.
Castex warned that France, which was hard hit by the virus earlier in 2020, and had recorded more than 30,000 deaths, was facing a clear uptick in infections.
“The estimated rate of infection per 100,000 people had quadrupled over the past month to 39. Though, that was still far below the estimated 1,000 cases per 100,000 at the peak of the epidemic.
The premier added that testing was now revealing an average of about 3,000 cases daily, compared with 1,000 daily when a strict 55-day lockdown ended in May. The rise could not be explained solely by increased testing.
Castex, however, warned that most current infections were among young people, which explained the relatively low level of hospitalisations, but now rising slowly but surely.