UK, France to mandate face masks in shops

UK and French residents will be ordered to wear face masks in public indoor spaces in coming weeks.
UK and French residents will be ordered to wear face masks in public indoor spaces in coming weeks.

Britain and France have announced they will require people to wear masks in public indoor spaces while Florida has surpassed its previous one-day record for coronavirus deaths.

In Britain, officials announced they will require people to wear face masks starting on July 24, after weeks of dismissing their value.

"We are not out of the woods yet, so let us all do our utmost to keep this virus cornered and enjoy summer safely," British Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron said masks will be required by August 1, after recent rave parties and widespread backsliding on social distancing raised concerns the virus may be starting to rebound.

Meanwhile Florida reported 132 additional deaths on Tuesday, topping the previous record for the state set just last week.

The figure likely includes deaths from the past weekend that had not been previously reported.

Even so, the new deaths raised Florida's seven-day average to 81 per day, more than double the figure of two weeks ago and now the second-highest in the US behind Texas.

Doctors have predicted a surge in deaths as Florida's daily reported cases have gone from about 2000 a day a month ago to over 12,000.

Disney officials announced that Hong Kong Disneyland Park is closing on Wednesday until further notice following the city's decision to ban public gatherings of more than four people.

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam announced new coronavirus-related restrictions on Monday after 41 out of 52 newly reported infections were locally transmitted cases.

Hong Kong has reported 250 new cases since July 6.

In Thailand, where there have been no reports of locally transmitted cases for seven weeks, authorities have revised rules governing visitors from abroad after a breakdown in screening led to two infected foreigners posing a possible risk to public health.

The government said on Tuesday that diplomats will be asked to stay in state-supervised quarantine for 14 days, instead of self-isolating.

And it is postponing the recently allowed entry of some foreign visitors so procedures can be changed.

India, which has the third-most cases after the US and Brazil, was rapidly nearing one million cases with a jump of more than 28,000 reported on Tuesday.

It now has more than 906,000 cases, and accumulated more than 100,000 in just four days.

Its nationwide lockdown has largely ended, but the recent spikes have prompted several big cities to reimpose partial lockdowns.

A 10-day lockdown that began on Tuesday in the southern city of Pune will allow only essential businesses such as milk shops, pharmacies, clinics and emergency services to open.

South Africa imposed tighter restrictions including a ban on alcohol sales, mandatory face masks in public places and an overnight curfew.

A surge in new infections pushed the African nation into the 10 worst-affected countries with nearly 300,000 confirmed cases, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Australian Associated Press