Paris authorities have announced that face masks will be mandatory in busy outdoor areas of the French capital starting on Monday to curb a rise in the rate of coronavirus infections.
The order applies to people aged 11 and over, the Paris prefecture said in a statement, adding that indicators showed the virus had begun circulating more widely since mid-July.
Masks must be worn along the banks of the River Seine and along the Canal St Martin as well as in open-air markets and other places where social distancing is difficult. This order will remain in place for one month, the prefecture said.
The rate of positive tests in the greater Paris region now stands at 2.4% compared with a national average of 1.6%, it said.
The zones where masks must be worn will be detailed separately, and evaluated on a regular basis, the prefecture said. They will include some densely populated areas in the capital's lower-income suburbs.
After tough lockdown measures slowed infection rates, many European countries are now watching new clusters flare up after easing restrictions to try to limit the economic damage and alleviate public frustration.
France has made it compulsory to wear a face mask in closed public spaces such as shops and banks since July 21, and Paris joins a growing list of cities ordering people to wear masks in busy zones outdoors including Toulouse, Lille and Biarritz.
The number of people in France infected with coronavirus rose by 2,288 on Friday, a new post-lockdown high.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)