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31.07.2021 Europe

Anti-Covid masks now mandatory outdoors in 30 French departments

By RFI
AFP - FRED TANNEAU
LISTEN JUL 31, 2021
AFP - FRED TANNEAU

Faced with a rise in the number of Covid-19 infections linked to the highly contagious Delta variant, 30 French departments have reinstated a mandatory mask wearing rule for outdoor areas, affecting many popular beachside towns where people have gathered for their annual summer break.

Masks are now mandatory in outdoor areas in Morbihan and Côtes-d'Armor in France's western Brittany region, popular with tourists and families seeking sea and sun.

30 out of 96 departments across mainland France will be affected by new health measures in August to curb the spread of Covid-19 (see list below).

Brittany's branch of the national health agency ARS noted that the rate of infection in the region had gone up to 101.3 per 100,000 inhabitants (+34.3 in the past week), with the rate of positive infections at 2.8 percent.

"The virus is actively circulating in Brittany," the agency said in a statement on Friday. "The rate of infection is rising across the region, in particular among young people."

It said that 66.3 percent of the population in the region had received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Rapid increase of cases
Since the end of June, the police reported that there had been a significant rise in Covid cases in Côtes- d'Armor, with the rate at 7.7 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on 27 June to 73.6 cases on 26 July.

The rule will affect popular seaside towns, where face masks must be worn by all people over the age of 11 from 9am to 10pm, 1-31 August. 

Masks would not be mandatory on the beaches or in national park areas, the police said.

On Friday, France reported 7,363 Covid patients in hospital, 127 more than on Thursday.

There are now more than 1,072 Covid patients in intensive care, 57 more than on Thursday. 

In France's overseas territories, a three week lockdown has begun in Martinique, a partial lockdown is imposed in Reunion Island and curfews apply to Guadeloupe. Travel restrictions also apply for visitors.

The list of other mainland departments concerned by new measures:

Alpes-Maritimes
Ariège
Aude
Bas-Rhin
Bouches-du-Rhône
Charente-Maritime
Cher
Dordogne
Gironde
Hautes-Alpes
Haute-Corse
Haute-Garonne
Haute-Savoie
Hérault
Ille-et-Vilaine
Landes
Loire-Atlantique
Meurthe-et-Moselle
Nord
Pas-de-Calais
Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Pyrénées-Orientales
Savoie
Seine-Maritime
Somme
Tarn-et-Garonne
Var
Vendée

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