‘All of France wanted masks, now they're not wearing them’

IN THE PRESS © France 24 screengrab

IN THE PRESS, Friday, May 22: We look at what papers in China and Hong Kong have to say about Beijing's plan to impose new security laws, a study that calls into question the effectiveness of Sweden's "laissez-faire" coronavirus strategy, the lax attitude of Parisians toward mask wearing and an emotional reunion between a Spanish man and his donkey.


Drastically different views are emerging on Beijing’s new security laws in China, Hong Kong and Western countries. Today’s China Daily editorial says that reports about the legislation are “like a testing kit for an anti-Beijing virus”. The paper adds that those who find the news comforting have Hong Kong’s “stability, prosperity, and rule of law in their hearts” and “those speaking ill of it mostly have an axe to grind when it comes to the Chinese mainland”.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post cites opposition politicians who say that enacting this legislation is like announcing the death of the “one country, two systems” policy and forecasts another massive wave of pro-democracy protests. Even the coronavirus is concerned, according to the paper’s cartoonist Harry Harrison. He depicted one virus particle saying to the others: “I think Hong Kong is getting distracted by other issues.”

A report from Sweden’s public health agency has found that by the end of April just over 7 percent of Stockholm’s population had developed antibodies to the coronavirus – that’s well below the minimum 40 percent required for herd immunity. The Guardian writes that it adds to concerns about the Swedish government’s "laissez-faire" strategy for combating the virus.

Parisians also seem to be adopting a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to masks. The newspaper Le Parisien took to the streets of Paris on what was a very balmy Thursday to count the number of mask-wearers. It concluded that barely 1 in 10 Parisians are covering their faces. One person who was wearing a mask told the paper: “Everybody in France was clamouring for access to masks. Now that they have them they’re not wearing them.” 

The paper concedes that since the lockdown began easing this week many people have been carried away by reunions with friends and family and, as our last story shows, even with pets. A man in Spain filmed his emotional reunion with his donkey, Baldomera, after two months apart. She is seen rushing towards him loudly braying as he pets her; he breaks into tears. You can watch the heart-warming encounter by clicking on the video link in this article from Metro news.

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