People in France should start wearing face masks again on public transport and when around vulnerable people, as Covid case numbers rise, the prime minister has said.
Mask-wearing is not an obligation
Élisabeth Borne told the Assemblée nationale yesterday (November 29) that “more than 40,000” new Covid infections are being reported each day – with the real number likely to be significantly higher as fewer people are now getting tested – and that “the epidemic is starting up again”.
She added that there had been a “progression of nearly 10% in the number of hospitalisations over the last week, a 22% increase in intensive care admissions and 400 deaths linked to Covid in the past week.
“This new wave is reminding us that the virus has not disappeared; the epidemic is striking again, and is still killing [people].”
Hospitals are facing ‘additional pressure’
Ms Borne also stated that hospitals are facing “additional pressure” not only because of Covid but also because of the bronchiolitis epidemic, which is “the most serious of the past 10 years”, and rising flu cases.
This is partly because flu vaccination uptake has been low this year and only 10% of eligible people have had a Covid booster.
She therefore appealed to the public to respect infection control measures, to wear masks in crowded places such as transports and around at-risk groups.
“These are small gestures which save lives, we know that they are crucial in pushing down the epidemic.
“People in France have always responded to calls to exercise their responsibilities. I have no doubt that they will do so again,” she added.
Ms Borne’s appeal follows similar advice from health experts and doctors, who have in recent days suggested that the public should go back to social distancing and mask-wearing where possible.