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Visitors to Paris landmarks wear face masks to avoid fines

Parisians were today seen donning masks after the French capital ordered face-coverings must be worn at landmarks and busy thoroughfares.

Police have been granted powers to issue a 135-euro (£121) fine to people who do not follow the new public health requirement.

One location covered by the measure is the banks of the Canal Saint-Martin, among the city’s most popular outdoor spots for lunch or an aperitif with friends. 

‘In the morning when there is nobody on the canal, I think it is a bit of a drastic measure,’ lawyer Helene Rames said after the face mask rule took effect.

‘But it is true that at night and on the weekends, you can see many young people here close to each other, which is scary,’ she added. ‘If it’s for the health of our elders then let’s wear it.’

Wearing a face mask outdoors also is required at the city’s open-air markets, at popular tourist sites like Notre Dame Cathedral and Montmartre district neighbourhoods, on several typically crowded streets and in parts of the Paris suburbs, authorities said.

A similar requirement is being applied in Marseille, France’s second-largest city, and dozens of other tourist destinations in France, including the French Riviera resort of Saint-Tropez.

A nationwide decree already requires people to wear masks in all stores and other indoor public places.

French health authorities warned that the country is going backward in its battle against the pandemic. 

The French health ministry said on Monday it had recorded 785 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, compared to 2,288 on Friday which was the biggest single-day rise since May.

It said that it had registered 10,800 new cases over the past week, but did not provide an updated number for the total cumulative number of coronavirus infections, which on Friday stood at 197,921.

The ministry said that over the past week, 10,800 new cases had been registered but it was not immediately clear what period this referred to and whether infections over the weekend were included in this total.

France has reported over 30,300 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic. 

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