Covid-19: In a Heatwave, Wearing a Mask Outdoors in Paris is Not Unanimous

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In a heatwave, wearing a mask outdoors in Paris is not unanimous

From this Monday 11th August 2020, Paris will have to wear the mask in certain areas while the hot weather will still be present.

In the midst of a stifling heat that stuns two-thirds of the French, the mask will prevail from this Monday 10th August 2020 outdoors in the busiest areas of Paris, which follows in the footsteps of Lille, Marseille and many other cities and tourist sites to curb the increase in Covid-19 cases.

The heat until Wednesday 

From Monday, it will be prohibited to stroll on the banks of the Seine, stroll in Montmartre or shopping in the main shopping streets of the capital without wearing a mask, according to the prefecture’s decision.

The same measure concerns many municipalities in Ile-de-France since “all indicators show that the virus is again circulating more actively in the region”, according to the departmental prefectures.

Sunday morning in Paris, tourists took advantage of a relative morning freshness before the mercury climbed and the obligation to wear a mask was imposed.

“Sunday 9th August, with minimum / maximum temperatures forecast of 25 and 39 ° C, should be the peak of the heatwave in Paris,” warned Gaétan Heymes, of Météo-France on Twitter.

But the heat will play overtime in the capital. “The refreshment is postponed until next Thursday in Paris, which is experiencing its most appallingly hot week since 1873, except August 2003. Thunderstorms possible in the coming days but atmosphere remaining very hot and heavy in the capital”, added his colleague François Jobard.

Morning tourism

Arrived around 9:30 am at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, Hervé Le Hir, 51, and Michel Lacaze, 67, take a hydration break after 40 kilometres of cycling from Claye-Souilly in Seine-et Marne. “Usually we leave at 9am, but here we brought the start to 6.30am”, explains Hervé.

“We don’t force it, I barely sweated”, Michel slips. “We took a detour via the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Élysées, Concorde, part of the Tour de France route! », Adds this retiree who drives a hundred kilometres per week.

Anne Guerin, 32, soaks her feet in a filled fountain around the Louvre Pyramid. Coming from Dijon for the weekend with her companion and her stepfather, she has everything planned: in her backpack, “water, cream, a cap, sprayers, we are well equipped”, she assures. But above all, “a lot of breaks and walking in the shade”.

The French are called upon to be extra careful in the face of the heat which does not exempt from barrier gestures and from wearing a mask (which should not, however, be moistened), hammer the health authorities.

Long presented as “useless” by the authorities, the mask became compulsory in closed public places on July 20 under penalty of a fine of 135 euros. For a week now, the prefects have been authorized to impose it outside “when local circumstances require”.

And nearly 2 out of 3 French people (64%) now approve the compulsory wearing of a mask in open public places, according to an Ifop survey for the Journal du Dimanche.

No sport, no outings for children

In an interview with the JDD, the professor of immunology Jean-François Delfraissy, at the head of the Scientific Council responsible for helping the government to manage the health crisis, estimated that the obligation to wear a mask outside would ” impose themselves naturally ”.

Regarding the evolution of the epidemic in France, “the situation seems contained but it remains very fragile”, he stressed, confirming the warning this week from the Scientific Council.

Several key indicators for monitoring the Covid-19 epidemic continue to deteriorate in France: 2,288 new cases were announced on Friday.

To minimize “the risk of excess mortality” in the context of the heatwave that occurs during the health crisis and ozone pollution, 15 departments in the north-west including Paris are placed on red alert, which concerns 30% of the population, and 49 are in orange vigilance (35%).

The Ministry of Health asks holiday and recreation centres for children to avoid outings “unless they take place in cooler places without requiring travel exposing to the heat.” Sports activities are also not recommended.

“This heatwave will be particularly severe in Normandy and in Hauts-de-France,” Olivier Proust, forecaster at Météo-France, told AFP on Saturday.

A phenomenon which should end “from the west from Wednesday” only, with a marked stormy degradation, according to Météo-France.

With the heat, measures are also taken to limit air pollution. The Rouen Normandy metropolis maintained this Sunday the totally free access introduced on Saturday in all its public transport.

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