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France: Macron wants to make the mask compulsory in closed public places

(Paris) France should make it mandatory to wear a protective mask in all enclosed public places to stem the epidemic caused by the new coronavirus which is showing signs of restarting, Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.

Laurence BENHAMOU, Daphné BENOIT, Lucie PEYTERMANN

France Media Agency

“I want us to make the mask mandatory in all enclosed public places,” he said in a rare television interview on the occasion of a reduced-size national holiday, referring to the date from 1 er August for the implementation of this measure.

“We have signs” according to which the contagion “still starts a little” in France, warned the French president about COVID – 14 who has already killed more than 30 00 0 people in this country and at a time when the health authorities warn against the loosening of the precautions in the wearing of the mask or the barrier gestures.

“We do it in transport, it works very well, but it's a bit erratic in closed public places […] it means that things have to be organized”, explained Mr. Macron.

“We must prevent and prepare” for a restart of the epidemic, said the president. “We will be ready,” he said, adding: “We have both stocks and supplies that are secure.”

Asked whether France would receive a possible vaccine as a priority if it was discovered by the French pharmaceutical group Sanofi – close to an agreement with the European Union to provide it 300 millions of doses – he assured that his country would be served “among the first”, but refused to demand an absolute priority, judging “absurd” a possible “health nationalism”.

Regarding the recovery plan for the French economy, it will represent “at least 100 billion euros ”, in addition to the 460 billion already committed in sectoral and support measures to the economy since the start of the epidemic, Macron announced on Tuesday.

In the morning, Emmanuel Macron had chaired a national holiday ceremony in a reduced format, honoring the mobilization of the armies and the medical world against COVID – 14. For the first time since 1945, the authorities had canceled the traditional military parade along the Champs-Élysées to commemorate the taking of the Bastille which marked, on 14 July 1789, the outbreak of the French Revolution.

Carers' demonstration in Paris

Four European countries – Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg – were symbolically represented, to thank them for having taken care of in their hospitals 161 French patients.

The Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was also present at Place de la Concorde.

In the stands, 2500 guests, including 1400 French who experienced the epidemic on the front line: caregivers, family of caregivers who died from COVID – 19, teachers, cashiers, funeral directors, police, gendarmes, firefighters, employees of mask or test factories.

Honors greeted with circumspection by certain members of the nursing staff, who are waiting more in favor of the hospital sector, after an agreement, which confirms a salary increase, was signed on Monday by the majority of unions.

Several thousand people thus demonstrated Tuesday afternoon in Paris at the call of several trade union organizations, to demand more resources for the hospital, the AFP noted.

The televised interview with President Macron on Tuesday represents the kick-off, explains the entourage of the Head of State, of the last 600 days of his five-year term, with the presidential 2022 in sight. Elected in May 2017, Emmanuel Macron had previously refused to comply with the traditional interview with 14 July. Asked during the interview about his possible willingness to run for a second term, he did not respond, arguing to devote himself fully to the more immediate goals he set.

Faced with a certain unpopularity, the French President must, with his new Prime Minister Jean Castex, manage a health, economic and social crisis which, according to the National Institute of Statistics (Insee), will plunge France in a 9% recession in 2020, never seen since 1948.

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