Thu | Aug 6, 2020

Florida tops virus death mark, UK and France mandate masks

Published:Tuesday | July 14, 2020 | 12:02 PM
Activists wearing protective face shields as a precaution against the new coronavirus outbreak attend a small protest outside the parliament in Jakarta, Indonesia, Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (AP) — Florida surpassed its previous one-day record for coronavirus deaths Tuesday and Britain and France announced they will require people to wear masks in public indoor spaces, amid rising global fears about a resurgence of the pandemic.

Florida reported 132 additional deaths, 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 United States behind Texas.

Doctors have predicted a surge in deaths as Florida’s daily reported cases have gone from about 2,000 a day a month ago to over 12,000.

In Britain, officials announced they will require people to wear face masks starting 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 lawmakers in the House of Commons.

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, officials in the Australian state of Queensland said those breaking quarantine rules could face up to six months in jail.

The current set of fines for breaking a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine for some visitors or lying about their whereabouts “appears not to be enough” in some cases, Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles said.

With higher fines and the threat of jail time, “I hope that will demonstrate to the public just how serious we are about enforcing these measures,” Miles said.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.