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French public to get reusable textile masks after govt shifts position on their efficacy

The French public will be provided with millions of washable face masks from early May, the government said on Friday. The statement comes amid a row over its flip-flopping on the efficacy of masks in protecting against coronavirus infection.

Junior Finance Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Les Echos daily that domestic and international plants produced more than 10 million textile masks last week and that output should reach 25 million a week by the end of April.

Until the scheduled end of France’s lockdown period on May 11, these masks will be sold to companies and municipalities. From May 4, they will also be sold to the public, probably via pharmacies, supermarkets, newspaper shops and online.

The French government has been criticized by medical specialists and opposition politicians for repeatedly shifting position on whether, when and where citizens should wear masks in public to limit the contagion of the virus, Reuters said.