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Russia orders wider use of masks, France looking to impose strickter measures

Women Wearing Protective Face Masks Watch A Fashion Show During Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Russia Amid The Coronavirus Disease Outbreak In Moscow
Russian authorities on Tuesday ordered people across the country to wear facemasks in some public places

Russian authorities on Tuesday ordered people across the country to wear facemasks in some public places and asked regional authorities to consider shutting bars and restaurants overnight after a surge in coronavirus cases.

The consumer health watchdog told regional authorities to make masks mandatory in parking lots, elevators, taxis and public transport. Some cities, including the capital Moscow, have already made masks mandatory on public transport.

It also suggested they close bars and restaurants between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. (2000 GMT to 0300 GMT). The RIA news agency had earlier reported this as an order, not a recommendation.

Russia has seen a surge in new COVID-19 infections in recent weeks, prompting the authorities to open temporary hospitals and urge the population to take precautionary measures.

The authorities have said they will not repeat the total lockdowns imposed across the country earlier this year.

Russia had reported 1,547,774 infections, the world’s fourth largest COVID-19 case load after the United States, India and Brazil.France should get ready for “difficult decisions” on new measures to cope with the resurgence of COVID-19, interior minister Gerald Darmanin said on Tuesday before a cabinet meeting to discuss the pandemic.

French authorities are looking at options for still tighter measures to fight COVID-19, which has kept spreading despite some of the strictest restrictions in Europe, according to three sources familiar with the government’s thinking.

“We must expect difficult decisions,” Darmanin told France Inter radio.

France has already set a curfew from 9 p.m.-6 a.m. in major cities, including Paris. Two industry sources in contact with the government said officials are now considering starting the curfew earlier, confining people to their homes at weekends except for essential trips, and closing non-essential shops.

On Monday, France reported 26,771 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. The death toll rose by 257, taking the cumulative total since the start of the epidemic to 35,018 deaths. The number of people in intensive care units rose by 186 to 2,770.

The government is trying to balance fighting the virus with ensuring that new restrictions do not hurt the economy too much, but Paris infectious diseases specialist Gilles Pialoux called for a new national lockdown.

“I think we clearly need to lock down the country,” he told BFM TV.



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