Friday 31 July 2020 10:19 am

French health minister says local authorities can make masks compulsory outside

France’s health minister has said that local authorities will be able to enforce the wearing of face masks in outdoor areas to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Writing on Twitter, Olivier Veran said that the decision could be made “depending on the situation of the epidemic in each region”.

Face masks are already compulsory in all public inside spaces, including public transport and shops.

French President Emmanuel Macron said in June that the country had achieved a “first victory” over the coronavirus, although outbreaks remain on a local level.

Yesterday there were 1,377 new confirmed cases, the second day in a row where cases have neared 1,400.

The moving 7-day average for cases has also risen above the 1,000 threshold for the first time since the first half of May, when France eased its lockdown.

Before the Open newsletter: Start your day with the City View podcast and key market data

France, one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries, has seen more than 200,000 infections and over 30,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

UK ministers are watching the situation in France closely, and are reportedly considering imposing quarantine measures on travellers from its neighbour, as it has with Spain and Luxembourg.

The restrictions on travellers from Spain came in over the weekend, while last night Luxembourg was also removed from the “travel corridors” list.

Ministers have said that they will not hesitate to take further steps to limit the spread of the virus, with Matt Hancock last night warning that people should effect further steps to be taken.

The imposed on local lockdowns in the Greater Manchester area, which were announced last night to widespread confusion, are one such step.