July 20, 2020, 09.53 PM

PARIS, KOMPAS.com – France’s face mask law has become official thus effective Monday, shoppers are required by law to wear a mask.

The enforcement of wearing a face mask also applies to Parisian bakeries such as the one where Kalil Gaci works at. His customers are embracing France’s face mask law.

"There's no problem in wearing one, I'm completely for it," said Elina Outh, a 22-year-old business student who called in to buy some of Gaci's pastries.

"What's happening makes sense and I think it should have happened a long time ago," Elina continued.

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Government mandates about wearing face masks have sparked a heated debate in the United States and elsewhere about civil liberties.

This has happened despite the mandate being enforced to curb the transmission of the Covid-19 virus.

However, in France, the majority of its citizens accept that face masks are important to mitigate the coronavirus pandemic.

France’s face mask law requires face coverings in shops, banks, covered markets or any other enclosed public space. Anyone violating the rule is liable to pay a €135 ($155) fine.

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Ministers accelerated the rule change because, even though the disease has abated nationwide, there have been localized flare-ups that sparked fears of a second wave.

More than 30,000 deaths in France have been linked to Covid-19.

At the covered market at La Baule-Escoublac, a resort on France's Atlantic coast, a sign was displayed reading: "Stop Coronavirus. The wearing of a mask is mandatory."

A fishmonger at the market, who gave his name as Gregory, said shoppers had been complying.

"Since lockdown, people in La Baule were used to almost always wearing a mask, so people are respecting the rules," he said.

Hotspot in Brittany

France’s Brittany region has seen a surge in the reproduction rate of the novel Covid-19 virus for the past week.

Brittany is a popular tourist destination for domestic and international travelers.

Based on government data, the latest indicators point to signs that the transmission of the Covid-19 virus is once again picking up steam.

On July 16, the French government pushed ahead plans to make wearing face masks compulsory in enclosed public spaces amid rising new Covid-19 infections.

New Covid-19 cases have particularly emerged in western and southern France which were two regions that had been relatively spared during the peak of the outbreak between March and May.

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According to data released on Friday, the disease’s reproduction rate, known as the R0, in Brittany had risen from 0.92 to 2.62 between July 10 and July 14.

The number is one of several indicators authorities are watching when deciding on whether to reimpose tougher restrictions after ending the country’s lockdown in May.

A reproduction rate of 2.62 means that each Covid-19 infected person is, on average, passing the disease on to between two and three other people.

A rate of less than one is needed to gradually contain the disease.

“It’s a worrying number because it means the epidemic is taking off again,” Eric Caumes, an infectious disease specialist at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris, told BFM TV.

The disease has killed more than 30,000 people in France.

While it has been under control with fatalities and the number of people in intensive care falling, daily cases have increased ahead of the summer holiday season.

Read also: Indonesia's Covid-19 Cases Near 90,000 Mark

People are gathering in larger groups and travelers from abroad have been allowed back into France.

Caumes said Paris hospitals in June had not seen any new virus cases, but that since the start of July, people were beginning to trickle back in similar numbers to February with two or three sick people a day.

“It is possible that what is happening in Paris is nothing compared to what is happening in other regions of France which were not hit by the first epidemic wave and risk facing an epidemic wave,” he said.

(Writer: Christian Lowe, John Irish | Editor: Janet Lawrence) 

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-france-masks/it-makes-sense-french-shoppers-take-compulsory-masks-in-their-stride-idUSKCN24L19I


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