Man beaten with bats over face mask dispute in Paris suburb

France has required the wearing of face masks in all indoor public places to fight resurgent coronavirus infections. (AFP)
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Updated 04 August 2020

Man beaten with bats over face mask dispute in Paris suburb

  • France has seen scattered incidents involving resistance to wearing masks

PARIS: A resident of a Paris suburb says he was beaten with baseball bats because he asked a fellow laundromat patron to wear a face mask – a requirement in all indoor public places in France to fight resurgent coronavirus infections.
Surveillance video of the attack published Tuesday by Le Parisien newspaper shows two people with bats and two others attacking a masked man inside the laundry facility then fleeing, leaving him face down on the floor.
The victim, identified only as Augustin, told BFM television that he was beaten because he had asked one of the attackers to don a mask when he entered the laundromat in the town of Soisy-sous-Montmorency north of Paris.
“I had a mask, I asked this person to put on his mask,” Augustin said. “He acted as if he didn’t hear, I insisted. He called his brother or his cousin or someone he knew who was outside ... they were threatening, insulting.”
Minutes later he saw two people enter with baseball bats. “I received blows on my back, on my temple, on my skull.”
Le Parisien reported that he filed a police complaint. The identities of the attackers are unclear.
France has seen scattered incidents involving resistance to wearing masks, which are required outdoors in several cities and towns as well.
In the most dramatic case, a French bus driver was beaten to death after he asked passengers to wear face masks aboard his vehicle. The case scandalized France and drew condemnation from the government. Four people have been charged in the death.


UK science advisers warn public on COVID-19 rates

Updated 7 min 59 sec ago

UK science advisers warn public on COVID-19 rates

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson huddled with ministers over the weekend to discuss how the government will respond to the recent rise in cases
  • The UK reported a seven-day average of 21 deaths a day last week

LONDON: Britain’s top medical adviser says the country has, in a “very bad sense,” turned a corner on COVID-19 infection rates, with figures suggesting there will be an exponential growth in the disease unless action is taken.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty told the public on Monday that rates are going in the “wrong direction” amid expectations the government is preparing to announce new measures to control the pandemic.
“We have in a very bad sense, literally turned a corner,” after weeks of increasing infection rates.
Whitty said that if nothing is done, new infections will rise to 49,000 a day by mid-October. Hospitalizations are also doubling in seven to eight days — leading to more deaths.
There was also no indication that the virus had lessened in severity, he said. “We see no evidence that this is true.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson huddled with ministers over the weekend to discuss how the government will respond to the recent rise in cases, which has pushed infection rates to levels last seen in May. Later this week the government is expected to announce a slate of short-term restrictions that will act as a “circuit breaker” to slow the spread of the disease.
The government is hoping to keep that number from climbing back to the peak levels of early April, when more than 5,000 cases a day were being reported.
While death rates have remained relatively low so far, public health officials warn that deaths are likely to rise in coming weeks.
The UK reported a seven-day average of 21 deaths a day last week, compared with a peak of 942 on April 10.
The government last week imposed tighter restrictions on communities in northeastern England, where the infection rate first began to rise. Bars and restaurants in those areas must now close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and people are prohibited from socializing with individuals from other households.
The rise in infection rates comes as lawmakers across the political spectrum criticize the government’s testing program. While government ministers tout the record numbers of tests being performed, there are widespread reports of people having to travel hundreds of miles for tests and tests being voided because it is taking labs too long to process them.
An effective testing program is seen as essential to controlling the pandemic because it allows the government to track infections and inform people when they should self-isolate.