Paris Reimposes Outdoor Mask Mandate as Omicron Soars


A brand new mandate to put on masks open air took impact on Friday in Paris as a part of an effort to decelerate the unfold of the Omicron variant within the French capital, which has develop into the middle of the nation’s newest wave of coronavirus infections.

To fight the brand new wave, the police in Paris introduced that individuals ages 11 and older could be required to put on masks exterior and in all public locations, with some exceptions allowed for folks exercising or using bikes. No finish date for the measure was given.

France dropped its first necessary outside masks coverage in June, a couple of yr after it was imposed, in a transfer that symbolized for a lot of the retreat of the pandemic. About the identical time, it lifted curfew measures and reopened bars and eating places.

Other French cities and areas in latest days have additionally reimposed necessary mask-wearing exterior, following related strikes by a number of European nations, together with Spain, Greece and Italy.

France has registered two straight days of greater than 200,000 new coronavirus circumstances, its most ever, which the well being minister, Olivier Véran, has in comparison with a “tsunami.” The unfold of Omicron — which research point out is extra proof against vaccines, although it could produce much less extreme sickness — has threatened to undermine France’s pandemic social contract, which has made a return to regular life contingent on vaccinations.

In Paris alone, the an infection charge has reached “an unprecedented level” of two,000 per 100,000 folks, or about double the nationwide common, in keeping with a statement launched by the Paris police on Wednesday.

Even as infections rise once more, the French authorities has been reluctant to take extra restrictive measures, just like the lockdowns and curfews that turned Paris right into a ghost metropolis final yr. But it did cancel its New Year’s Eve celebration, which was to incorporate fireworks over the Champs-Élysées. Large public events have additionally been banned.

Yves Buisson, an epidemiologist on the French National Academy of Medicine, instructed the franceinfo radio station on Thursday that “all precautionary measures are essential” in immediately’s scenario.

“Transmission happens less outside than inside,” he stated, “but it’s not nonexistent, especially in areas with high population density.”