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Coronavirus: Health concerns prompt France to bring date for compulsory face masks forward to Monday

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French President Emmanuel Macron puts on a face mask after arriving at Mauritania's Nouakchott--Oumtounsy International Airport on June 30, 2020
French President Emmanuel Macron puts on a face mask after arriving at Mauritania's Nouakchott--Oumtounsy International Airport on June 30, 2020   -   Copyright  LUDOVIC MARIN / POOL / AFP
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People in France will be compelled to wear face-masks in closed public spaces from Monday, a measure to stem the coronavirus transmission in the country.

It was revealed by the country's Health Directorate - Direction générale de la Santé, also knows as DGS - to news agency AFP on Sunday.

Venues concerned include meeting and performance halls, cinemas, restaurants, hotels, game rooms, educational centres, holiday centres, libraries, places of worship, indoor sports venues, museums, stations and airports.

"Stores, shopping centres, administrations, banks and covered markets" have also been added to the list, the DGS said, while masks remain mandatory on public transport too.

Failure to comply may result in a 4th class fine of €135, the DGS said.

President Emmanuel Macron announced on July 14 face-maks would become obligatory from August 1, but the date was quickly brought forward amid concerns expressed by scientists after "slight signs" of a resurgence in the virus.

"The health situation in France (excluding Mayotte and Guyana which are still undergoing the first wave), after several weeks of decline and stabilization of the epidemic, shows signs of a slight deterioration, but still uncertain", the DGS stated, as it urged everyone to be vigilant to avoid an "epidemic rebound".

The date was brought forward also because of worries the virus might spread in the air - a possibility the World Health Organisation did not rule out.