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Covid France: medical academy advises not speaking on metro

It advises people to be silent on public transport and not to talk on their phones to avoid spreading more contagious variants of Covid-19

The Académie Nationale de Médecine, a long-standing medical institution in France, has recommended people to stop talking or phoning while on public transport, even while wearing a mask, to avoid spreading new, contagious variants of Covid-19.

The Academy, however, rejected new government recommendations to stop wearing home-made fabric masks. 

WHO says fabric masks still ok, contrary to France’s advice

Health Minister Olivier Véran called on people on Thursday (January 21) to only stop wearing these masks as he deemed them insufficient for blocking new variants of Covid-19.

The World Health Organisation has stated that, according to two studies, there is no evidence of this and has said it will maintain its advice that masks made correctly at home are acceptable.

The Académie Nationale de Médecine has said advising against home-made masks risks causing confusion.

"Such a change in the recommendations concerning a practice with which the entire population had managed to become familiar risks creating incomprehension and rekindling doubts about the validity of the official recommendations," it stated.

It also came out against the idea of extending the social distancing rule of one metre to two metres, which it describes as “defensible in theory but inapplicable in practice”.

Despite the threat of the new variants, the Academy recommends "not to modify the barrier gestures as they have been defined and improved over the past few months" but to remind people of good behaviour.

This includes always wearing masks in public, even when people are more than one metre apart, and wearing them correctly, covering the nose and mouth.

It said that when physical distance cannot be respected on public transport, speaking and phoning should be avoided.

Read more:

WHO says fabric masks still ok, contrary to France’s advice

Covid France: Some masks less effective against UK variant

French town's Covid facemasks recycled as rulers for schools

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