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French specialist: Masks vital post-confinement

A senior infectious diseases specialist in France has warned that “the virus will still be circulating” even after Covid-19 confinement measures are lifted, so people will “absolutely still need to protect” themselves using masks.

9 April 2020
Professor Bricaire: "People should acknowledge among themselves that it is in their interest to wear a mask"
By Connexion journalist

François Bricaire, infectious diseases specialist and member of the national Académie de Médecine, told French news source FranceInfo: “When we will leave confinement, the virus will still be circulating, and we will absolutely need to protect ourselves.”

He said that “masks were becoming more necessary than previously thought”, and said that it was important for people to continue to avoid infecting others as much as possible, even after confinement ends.

Professor Bricaire said that he “did not know” if wearing masks would become compulsory, but said that conflicting information around the efficacy of masks “justified a careful attitude towards” their use.

Read more: Covid-19 in France: Public may be asked to wear masks

Read more: Covid-19: Public will have to wear masks in Nice

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However, he said that “people should acknowledge among themselves that it is in their interest to wear a mask, even if it is an ‘alternative’ type...Any fabric can help slow down or stop contamination…[such as] a scarf, or a tight bandana [over the nose and mouth].”

Read more: Chief adviser: Extra confinement ‘crucial’ for France

Read more: French hospital shares homemade mask instructions

Professor Bricaire also confirmed that he had signed an open call for the wider testing of the drug hydroxychloroquine in the fight against Covid-19, which early trials have suggested could be effective against the illness.

Read more: Covid-19 France: petition for wider chloroquine access

Read more: Limited chloroquine use against Covid-19 approved

He said: “The manifesto we launched...would allow doctors, who so wish, to prescribe chloroquine for patients with mild forms of the illness that still require hospitalisation. If I were head of department, I’m not sure that I would refrain from using it.”

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