French mayor bans SPITTING in public in bid to curb coronavirus spread
Bernard Gérard, the mayor of Marcq-en-Baroeul, a northern French town on the outskirts of Lille, said the stricter hygiene measures were needed during the coronavirus lockdown after local authorities received complaints of unsanitary conditions. M Gérard said in a statement “Spitting in the street is now banned and people must abide by the preventive measures in place, such as covering coughs and sneezes.”
He then warned used masks, gloves and protective suits “have to be thrown away” and not just dumped on the street.
The fine will be increased to €180 (£158.60) in the event of late payment, the mayor added.
The announcement came shortly after French authorities tightened lockdown measures in the capital by banning people from exercising outdoors between 10am and 7pm local time.
Local officials decided to ban daytime jogging to stop Parisians from bending anti-coronavirus lockdown rules and contain the outbreak.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and police chief Didier Lallement said in a statement: “Every excursion avoided aids the fight against the epidemic.”
The move came after many politicians and doctors voiced alarm at the fact that the streets of Paris were still teeming with joggers and shoppers despite the government’s strict stay-at-home orders.
France confined residents to their homes on March 17 to stem the spread of the flu-like virus.
The drastic measures have been extended until April 15 and are likely to be extended again.
Under the nationwide lockdown, people can leave home only for essential purposes, which include shopping for food, seeking medical care, or a solo walk or run within a one-kilometre radius of home.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said later on Tuesday that de-confinement would not “happen overnight”.
He added: “The lockdown is difficult for many French people. I am fully aware of this.
“But it is essential if we do not wish to find ourselves in an even worse situation than the one we are experiencing today.”
Health Minister Olivier Véran, for his part, said France had not yet reached the peak of the epidemic.
He told broadcaster BFM TV: “We are still in a worsening phase of the epidemic.”
France on Tuesday registered more than 10,000 deaths from coronavirus infections, making it the fourth country to cross that grim threshold after Italy, Spain and the United States.
Health chief Jerome Salomon told reporters that the pandemic was still expanding.
But he stressed that the number of patients being treated in intensive care units had risen by only 0.8 percent in the previous 24 hours – the eighth consecutive day that this rate has decelerated.
M Salomon continued: “The need to find new (ICU) places is less urgent. But the balance of additional patients needing care remains positive, which means the pandemic is still expanding.”
He added that the number of hospital and nursing home deaths had risen to a cumulative total of 10,328.
The number of confirmed infections in hospitals is now 78,167, and the number of confirmed or possible cases in nursing homes is 30,902.
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