France plans to make masks mandatory at work as Paris is declared a coronavirus 'red zone' again

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Tourists wearing protective face masks walk past the Louvre Pyramid (Pyramide du Louvre) designed by Ieoh Ming Pei, at the Cour Napoleon, in Paris, on August 15, 2020. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY MENTION OF THE ARTIST UPON PUBLICATION - TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)
Tourists wearing face masks walk past the Louvre in Paris on Saturday. (AFP via Getty Images)

France is planning on making face masks mandatory at work after Paris was again declared a coronavirus “red zone”.

The government is to propose the introduction of compulsory masks in shared workspaces later this week after a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The move follows the decision last Friday to declare the country’s two largest cities, Paris and Marseille, as high-risk coronavirus “red zones”.

Paris has not been classified as a red zone since May.

The number of new cases of COVID-19 in the capital went past 50 per 100,000 people last week.

Because of the escalating cases, Britain added France to its travel quarantine list last week, meaning those arriving in the UK must self-isolate for 14 days.

The move caused travel chaos as hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers rushed back home from France before the quarantine period began.

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France reported 3,310 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, followed by another 3,015 daily infections on Sunday.

Last week’s increase in daily cases was the first time the figure had gone above 2,000 since April.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 252,000 coronavirus cases in France and more than 30,000 deaths.

Employment minister Elisabeth Borne said she will ask businesses and unions on Tuesday to make masks mandatory in the workplace.

"A theme that appears in all scientific opinions is the value of wearing them (masks) when there are several people in a confined space," she told Le Journal du Dimanche.

In Paris, authorities have expanded the zones in the capital where wearing a mask is mandatory outdoors.

A man wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks at Trocadero plaza near Eiffel Tower in Paris, Saturday, Aug 8, 2020. The French health agency said yesterday indicators show an increasingly active circulation of the virus, ''especially among young adults,'' and appealed for respect of safety measures ''and good sense.''(AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Paris has been declared a coronavirus 'red zone' once again. (AP Photo)

Last Monday, masks became compulsory in some busy parts of Paris, but the area has now been widened in an effort to curb infection rates.

There are already nationwide rules on face masks making them compulsory in certain indoor spaces and on public transport.

Last week, authorities in Paris published a list of more than 100 streets in the city where masks were compulsory, but the plan was criticised for being too complicated.

As a result, the rules have been simplified to cover certain large areas, including the city centre and the banks of the Seine.

Anyone who doesn’t comply with the mask rules can be fined €135 (£122). Police will also increase patrols around bars and restaurants.

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