Coronavirus: France makes masks mandatory on public transport
This story is from April 29, 2020
Coronavirus: France makes masks mandatory on public transport

Coronavirus: France makes masks mandatory on public transport

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PARIS: France said on Tuesday that shops, markets and some schools could reopen next month, the latest country to ease coronavirus restrictions as nations tread a fine line between allowing stalled economies to recover while staving off a new contagion.
More than half of humanity is under some sort of lockdown to stem the spread of the deadly pandemic, which has tipped economies toward a bruising global downturn.
Coronavirus lockdown: Latest developments
Over three million people are now infected worldwide and more than 211,000 have been killed since the virus first emerged in China late last year.
In France, Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe said would begin to be eased from May 11 -- some shops and markets could resume business, and primary schools and daycare centres would reopen gradually.
Face masks will be required on public transport, he said, and work-from-home orders will stay in place for several more weeks.
"We must protect the French without immobilising France to the point that it collapses," Philippe said, adding that even a gradual return to normal life was "risky".
Spain also announced a phased plan to emerge from its weeks-long lockdown, saying restrictions would be lifted gradually over the next two months.
France reported a fall in daily deaths on Tuesday and a further decline in intensive care patients, while Spain also said its number of fatalities had dropped in the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Russia will consider a gradual end to quarantine measures from May 12 and Greece will start easing its lockdown from May 4 having "contained the first wave of the virus", Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.
And from next week, Italians will be able to exercise outdoors and visit relatives -- but only if they wear masks and refrain from hugs and handshakes.
Along with France and Spain, Italy is among the worst affected in Europe, with the three nations each reporting over 23,000 deaths.
But in Germany, which allowed some shops to reopen last week, experts warned against a rush to lift lockdown measures after new data showed a slight uptick in infection rates.
"We all need to take care that we don't end up with more infections," said Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for disease control.
Experts have warned of a second wave of contagion if restrictions are lifted too hastily, and the World Health Organization has said reinfection may be possible even among recovered patients.
With the world's economic outlook looking bleak, calls are mounting in some quarters for governments to ease curbs to avoid a disaster in the hardest-hit sectors.
Forecasts warn of the worst global recession in a century, with oil prices tumbling and travel and tourism hammered.
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