RTL Today – France: Macron wants masks to be mandatory indoors as the virus spreads

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                        Le président français Emmanuel Macron a déclaré mardi qu'il était favorable à l'obligation de porter des masques faciaux dans les espaces publics intérieurs pour limiter la pandémie de coronavirus, reconnaissant que les infections étaient à nouveau en augmentation.                        

His comments – in a TV interview marking July 14 – came after overseeing the traditional military ceremony which was greatly reduced by the pandemic and which placed health workers at the center of the scene rather than soldiers.

“I would like to make masks mandatory in all closed public spaces,” Macron said in the interview, a July 14 tradition that he had fled since taking office three years ago.

“We have indications that (the epidemic) is accelerating a bit. ”

He indicated in particular that the rate of reproduction of the virus, the “R” report, had again exceeded that of France, which means that a single person infected with COVID-19 is likely to spread the disease to others .

Government officials are evaluating the face mask requirement, which could go into effect Aug. 1, he said.

Macron’s comments come as doctors warn of a potential second wave of infections, perhaps in the coming weeks, that could again overwhelm hospitals and require further closures that could further hammer the economy .

When asked if France had enough masks in the event of a new outbreak, following massive shortages as the epidemic worsened in March, Macron said, “We will be ready.”

“We have secured stocks and sources of supply, and we are organized in the field, to allow us to face an upsurge, if necessary,” he said.

He also said the government’s “massive” stimulus package would reach 100 billion euros ($ 114 billion), in addition to the 460 billion euros spent so far to limit the economic damage from an expensive foreclosure. two months.

Priority will be given to investments to fight climate change, he said, such as increasing the transport of goods by rail instead of trucks and providing subsidies to improve the energy efficiency of homes and public buildings.

“I think we can build a different country in the next 10 years,” he said.

– Health workers honored –

Fearing the risk of contagion, the authorities canceled the annual military parade along the avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris, which marks July 14, 1789, the taking of the Bastille prison that sparked the French Revolution.

Instead, Macron chaired a small gathering of just 2,000 soldiers – half the usual number – in Place de la Concorde, where dozens of doctors, nurses and other caregivers were honored.

Several were in tears when a military troop greeted them with the national anthem “La Marseillaise” to close the ceremony, while jets of Patrouille de France flew over streaks of blue, white and red smoke.

Macron personally thanked several of them as light rain began to fall, a day after his government agreed to a package of eight billion euro ($ 8.5 billion) salary increases for nurses and caregivers.

He then put on a face mask to visit the guests, including Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization.

– No crowds –

Despite the billions of euros pledged to minimize economic damage, questions remain as to how the government will promote recovery from a recession that is expected to destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Critics have accused the president of first underestimating and then mismanaging a crisis that killed more than 30,000 people in France.

And some health workers say the government still hasn’t done enough – protesters threw balloons near Place de la Concorde with a banner saying, “Behind the tributes, Macron is choking the hospitals.”

No crowds were allowed near Place Concorde to avoid the risk of contagion, and only 2,500 guests were invited to a ceremony where only two WWII tanks loudly crossed the cobblestones.

Large parts of Paris will remain closed on Tuesday, including the parks near the Eiffel Tower, to avoid crowds for the July 14 fireworks, and most other cities have canceled their shows.

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