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French cities tighten virus measures as cases rise

AFP
Lille, France
Several French cities on Thursday announced new face mask requirements and other measures to contain the coronavirus as the number of new cases continues to increase after a long lull, officials said.
The government, anxious to avoid a new outbreak but wary of clamping down too hard during the summer holidays, has stepped up guidance on social distancing as officials report new contagion “clusters” daily.
Face masks are already required in all enclosed public spaces nationwide, including public transport, and in recent days cities have cracked down on mass gatherings of young people in particular.
In the Nord department adjacent to Belgium, the government’s top official said “reinforced measures” would be announced Friday, possibly making masks compulsory outdoors, in response to a surge in cases across the border.
The mayor of Saint-Malo, whose walled city has drawn tens of thousands of French tourists who opted to stay in the country for the summer holidays, said masks were now mandatory inside the old city and on the ramparts for everyone aged 11 and over.
“Masks are essential protection for limiting the virus’s spread,” Mayor Gilles Lurton said, after health authorities said the Ille-et-Vilaine region had 44 new cases on Wednesday alone.
Starting Friday, masks will be required in open-air markets in Orleans, central France, and after 9:00 pm (1900 GMT) along the Loire river, where crowds of people have been turning out nightly.