A new mandate to wear masks outdoors came into effect Friday in Paris as part of an effort to slow the spread of the Omicron variant in the French capital, which has become the center of the latest wave of country’s coronavirus infections.
To combat the new wave, Paris police have announced that people aged 11 and over will be required to wear masks outdoors and in all public places, with a few exceptions allowed for people walking around. ‘exercise or cycling. No end date for the measurement has been given.
France scrapped its first policy of mandatory outdoor masks in June, around a year after it was imposed, in a move that many symbolized the decline in the pandemic. At around the same time, he lifted curfews and reopened bars and restaurants.
In recent days, other French cities and regions have also reimposed the compulsory wearing of masks outdoors, following similar measures by several European countries, including Spain, Greece and Italy.
France has recorded two consecutive days more than 200,000 new cases of coronavirus, its largest number, which the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, has compared to a “tsunami”. The spread of Omicron – which studies show is more resistant to vaccines, although it may produce less severe disease – has threatened to undermine France’s pandemic social contract, which has made a return to normal life contingent vaccination.
In Paris alone, the infection rate has reached “an unprecedented level” of 2,000 per 100,000 inhabitants, about double the national average, according to a declaration released by the Paris police on Wednesday.
Even as infections rise again, the French government has been reluctant to take more restrictive measures, like the closures and curfews that made Paris a ghost town last year. But he canceled his New Year’s celebration, which was to include fireworks on the Champs-Élysées. Major public holidays have also been banned.
Yves Buisson, epidemiologist at the French National Academy of Medicine, told the franceinfo radio station Thursday that “all precautionary measures are essential” in the current situation.
“Transmission takes place less outdoors than indoors,” he said, “but it is not non-existent, especially in densely populated areas.”