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Why might I be asked to wear a mask on French public transport?

Town halls and pharmacies are distributing face masks as part of the ‘Masque solidaire’ campaign

Only 50% of people plan to wear a mask if they start showing symptoms Pic: Ekaterina Pokrovsky / Shutterstock

People are being urged to wear face masks in confined public spaces as part of a new campaign to protect France’s 300,000 vulnerable and immunocompromised people from Covid-19 and other respiratory infections. 

Patients who have received organ transplants or cancer treatment, or have HIV, are among those at risk of hospitalisation and even death from infections. 

In the last four years, Covid has killed one in 20 dialysis patients in France. 

Read more: Flu, Covid, bronchiolitis: latest update on viruses in France

Only 50% of people would wear a mask if they had symptoms

The campaign, organised by three associations representing the immunocompromised, is called Masque solidaire (Solidarity mask).

On January 6 alone, 50,000 face masks were handed out by volunteers at the Place de la République in Paris. 

Overall, 100 town halls and 400 pharmacies have so far participated in the campaign by distributing masks and displaying messages on buses, metros and in the streets, as well as online and on social media.

Just 15% of people in the country now wear a face mask when travelling on public transport, and only half plan to wear a mask if they start displaying symptoms, according to the most recent survey by Santé publique France.

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