HEALTH SECURITY: Already compulsory in public transport, the mask must be worn in all enclosed places welcoming the public from this Monday in France
In order to curb “worrying” signs of a resumption of the coronavirus epidemic, wearing a mask is now compulsory in closed public places. In the middle of summer, this measure responds to signs of a slight upturn in the virus: an increase in recourse to SOS doctors, visits to emergencies and the number of clusters, even if the situation remains under control.
“We note that there are worrying signs of epidemic resumption on the national territory”, indicated on Franceinfo the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, mentioning “between 400 and 500 clusters of coronavirus”, in particular in Mayenne, in Brittany and in the Grand-Est. However, he clarified that “at this stage, we are very far from the second wave”.
This Sunday, the Directorate General of Health (DGS) unveiled the list of closed public places where wearing a mask is now mandatory.
Libraries, places of worship, museums, etc.
The wearing of the surgical mask or “general public” (in tissue) was already compulsory in public transport since May 11. It is now imposed on everyone in “sales stores, shopping centres, administrations, banks and covered markets”, detailed Sunday the Directorate General of Health. These establishments are added to the list of places where the wearing of a mask was already planned to fight against Covid-19.
Meeting and performance rooms, cinemas, restaurants, hotels, games rooms, educational establishments, holiday centres, libraries, places of worship, indoor sports establishments, museums, stations and airports were indeed already affected by the port. the compulsory mask, “sometimes with specific rules”, recalls the DGS.
Plus d’informations sur : https://t.co/X3FJxBgRoY
— Gouvernement (@gouvernementFR) July 20, 2020
“Reduce the circulation of the virus”
President Emmanuel Macron announced on July 14th that the obligation to wear a mask would come into force on August 1st, but the date was quickly brought forward in the face of criticism from doctors who alerted to these “weak signals” of resumption of the epidemic of coronavirus Covid-19 and the relaxation of barrier measures.
“Saving lives, protecting the most vulnerable, reducing the circulation of the virus: it is on our civility that the health of all depends,” Prime Minister Jean Castex commented on Twitter on Sunday.
#COVID19 | Dès demain, le port du masque sera obligatoire dans les lieux publics clos.
Sauver des vies, protéger les plus vulnérables, réduire la circulation du virus : c’est de notre civisme que dépend la santé de tous.
La mobilisation du Gouvernement est totale. pic.twitter.com/xm0vOqZUHG
— Jean Castex (@JeanCASTEX) July 19, 2020
And to encourage this civic-mindedness, “non-compliance with this measure could be liable, as is the case in other places where the wearing of a mask is compulsory, in particular transportation, to a 4th class ticket”, namely a fixed fine of 135 euros .
For government spokesman Gabriel Attal, “the objective is to avoid general confinement. We did it in March because we didn’t know about this virus and its consequences. This time, our action is more targeted, in particular through massive screening campaigns and the control of clusters ”. “The important thing is that the French wear the mask not for fear of the gendarme, but of the virus,” he said in La Provence.
“We will do everything to avoid generalized confinement”, abounded on RTL immunologist Jean-François Delfraissy, president of the Scientific Council which guides the French authorities during the pandemic, regretting also that “access to tests was not yet sufficiently fluid ”.
At the national level, the effective reproduction rate of the virus (or “effective R”, based on positive virological tests) has dropped slightly above 1 since the first week of July and currently stands at around 1.20, according to Public Health France. This means that each Covid-19 patient infects an average of 1.2 other people, which is in line with a trend of increased circulation of the virus.
Change of Mind
The decision to make the mask compulsory constitutes an about-face by the French government which, based on international recommendations, in particular from the World Health Organization (WHO), had insisted at the start of the epidemic that masks were not were useful only to caregivers and the sick.
But for the early promoters of its widespread use, this speech, in France as in other Western countries, was above all intended to prevent the general public from grabbing the masks that health professionals sorely lacked.
Very criticized for the lack of a sufficient strategic stock at the start of the epidemic, the French government now wants to achieve the target of around 60 million masks by the end of September / early October, against 3.5 million before the crisis. Another factor that justifies the turnaround of the French authorities: the “uncertainties” on the transmission of the virus in the air.