PARIS (AP) – French authorities on Monday imposed the mandatory use of mouth masks in public spaces in various parts of the country, including beach resorts along the Atlantic coast, picturesque walks along the Loire river and agricultural markets in the Alps.
The rule is in addition to a national decree last month that forces the population to wear face masks in all stores and other closed public spaces. Pressure is mounting for the government to also impose the use of chinstraps in open spaces nationwide.
France is dealing with a flare-up of coronavirus infections, with hundreds of new cases in recent weeks, especially among young people gathering at riverside cafes, parties, and family gatherings over the summer holidays.
Authorities in various regions of France have started to demand the use of outdoor masks in recent days. As of Monday, 69 towns in the Mayenne region in the west of the country imposed the rules for face masks in open spaces, as well as in some parts of the northern city of Lille and the coastal city of Biarritz, in the French Basque Country. .
France has reported 7,000 new cases of COVID-19 in the past week, after nearly controlling the disease with strict two-month confinement across the country, and has confirmed 30,265 coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
For its part, about 340 passengers and crew of a cruise ship are in confinement on board the vessel in Tahiti after a tourist tested positive for coronavirus, the French government office in French Polynesia reported.
All people aboard the Paul Gauguin cruise ship are being tested and will remain in their cabins until the results are available, a statement said Sunday night.
Pacific Island authorities began reopening the region to foreign tourism last month, requiring all visitors to undergo testing prior to arrival and self-test four days after entering the territory.
A cruise ship passenger Paul Gauguin reported he tested positive for a test conducted on his own last week, and a second test by doctors confirmed the diagnosis on Sunday, according to the statement.
The person traveling in the company of the sick passenger tested negative and both were taken off the ship, the French police station said.
In Belgium, authorities reported that the number of coronavirus cases continues to register a marked increase at the national level and it is still unknown how serious the second wave of infections is or how long it will last.
On average, about 491 people tested positive for COVID-19 daily last week across the country, an increase of 68% from the previous week. Belgium – a small nation with around 11.5 million inhabitants – has been heavily hit by the virus. About 10,000 people have died from the disease.
Most of the new cases are reported in highly populated and poor neighborhoods and among people ranging in age from 20 to 40, many of whom refuse to recognize the risks because their friends generally do not show serious symptoms. of coronavirus, detailed Frederique Jacobs, government spokeswoman for the crisis by COVID-19.
In Italy, the number of new confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy fell below 200 for the first time in a week, with 159 cases registered on Monday, according to figures from the Ministry of Health.
That brings the total number of cases in Italy to 248,229 and deaths to 35,166.
Lazio, the central region that includes Rome, now has the highest number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in the 20 regions of Italy. Health officials said nine of the new cases in the region were brought in by travelers from Romania, Ukraine, the Dominican Republic, Iran, India and Bangladesh.