French President Emmanuel Macron announced that masks will be mandatory in enclosed spaces reports France 24. In an interview that took place on July 14, which was posted on France 24's YouTube channel, Macron stated masks would become compulsory starting August 1.
"I want us, in the next few weeks, to make masks compulsory in enclosed public places," he said. "I ask fellow citizens to wear masks as much as possible when they are outside, and especially so when they are in an enclosed space."
As it currently stands, citizens are highly encouraged to wear masks, but they are only mandatory on public transportation and places where social distancing is not possible. Some areas have already begun making mask-wearing mandatory including the suburb Saint-Ouen, near Paris, where the mayor set the mandate after several new cases were discovered at a school, reports RFI.
Macron also pledged to make testing more accessible to citizens, without needing the referral of a doctor.
In an interview with France 24, epidemiologist Catherine Hill stated that wearing a mask was the "second-best solution" to preventing the spread of coronavirus, with extensive testing being most important.
"The best prevention is to find the people who are carrying the virus," she said, referring to the nasal test for the virus. She suggested group testing as well.
Macron acknowledged coronavirus cases had increased in France since the lockdown had been lifted. Macron assured that if a second wave hits, they will be prepared. So far, the virus has caused 30,000 deaths in France.
"We have secured both the stocks and the supply sources, and we are organised on the ground, to allow us to deal with an upsurge, if it comes," he said.
He also noted the "R" ratio, which indicates the virus reproduction rate, has risen above one, indicating a single person who is spreading COVID-19 to others.
RFI reported that Macron also took the opportunity to warn against the use of hydroxychloroquine. Contrary to what U.S. President Donald Trump previously stated in April, Macron said that there are unresolved issues surrounding the drug and discouraged its use.
France's lockdown restrictions were second only to Italy. During the first two weeks of lockdown, which started on March 17, 2020, citizens were only allowed to leave the house for groceries, medical supplies, or to commute if they were unable to work from home. The lockdown went into phase two on June 2, which allowed restaurants, shops and schools to reopen.