France gives cities the power to demand face masks; mandate imposed in Lille

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FILE PHOTO: People, wearing face masks, walk inside Westfield Forum des Halles shopping center in Paris as France enforces the wearing of masks in closed public spaces as part of efforts to curb the resurgence of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the country, July 20, 2020. REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) – France on Friday gave local governments the power to make the wearing of face masks mandatory in public, and a warrant has been imposed in the northern city of Lille, as the country battles a resurgence of cases of COVID-19.

The seven-day average of new coronavirus infections in France rose above 1,000 per day for the first time since the first half of May, when France began lifting a national lockdown. Officials hope local measures can prevent a second wave of infections without nationwide disruptive action.

Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Twitter that the decision to impose a mask mandate “can be taken locally, depending on the situation of the epidemic in each region”.

The Lille government official announced that the wearing of a face mask would become compulsory from Monday in pedestrian areas and parks in the city, which is near Belgium.

French health authorities on Thursday reported 1,377 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total to 186,573.

The rise in infections in France follows an earlier surge in Spain, adding to concerns that Europe could be heading for a second wave.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Sudip Kar-Gupta and Nicolas Delame; Editing by Alison Williams and Peter Graff

Our standards:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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