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TRAVELLING TO FRANCE

EU to make face masks compulsory on all European flights for passengers aged 6 and over

Children 6 and over and all adults will have to wear face masks on all European flights after EU transport ministers agreed new security measures to battle the spread of coronavirus.

EU to make face masks compulsory on all European flights for passengers aged 6 and over
Photo: AFP

The EU Transport Ministers reached agreement on various health measures to be imposed on board aircraft flying over the continent, as well as at airports.

Ministers agreed that the wearing of masks will be obligatory for anyone aged over six.

Other measures agreed by ministers during a video-conference included obligations for airlines to disinfect aircraft more often and to enforce safe distances, even if this results in long queues at airports.

Most airlines already make it mandatory for passengers to wear face masks while boarding planes and whilst on board the aircraft, but children have often been exempt.

Masks are also compulsory in many airports including in France, which made the coverings obligatory in all public indoor spaces for anyone aged over 11.

Airlines issue strict rules on wearing masks and warn passengers they will be refused entry to planes if they do not comply.

To ensure full safety whilst wearing a mask, airline easyJet says masks should be replaced every four hours.

A statement on the website said: “Protective face masks should typically be replaced every four hours, or if they become wet or soiled, so please ensure that you have an adequate supply for you and anyone else travelling with you for the entire duration of your journey.”

European countries are battling to prevent a resurgence of coronavirus cases with countries like Spain, France and Belgium all seeing a rise in cases in recent days.

Switzerland, while not a member of the EU, has had a compulsory mask requirement on all flights since early July. 

 

 

 

 

Member comments

  1. I was expecting my temper to be checked when I flew from Limoges to East Midlands on the 2nd July. This didn’t happen at both ends, My husband just flew from Limoges to Manchester and he had no temperature checks either, My contact details were scrutinized but husband was waved on. Any particular reason why security were so lapse?

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COVID-19

OUTLOOK: Could Switzerland introduce Covid rules this autumn?

After several months of a relatively low number of coronavirus cases in Switzerland, the rate of infections rose by over 22 percent in a span of seven days this week. What measures are Swiss health officials planning to prevent a new wave?

OUTLOOK: Could Switzerland introduce Covid rules this autumn?

The Swiss government has said that “further waves of infections are to be expected in the fall/winter of 2022/2023″.

As in previous waves, “the main objective of managing the pandemic is to prevent an overload of the health system. It is currently difficult to predict the magnitude of the waves of infection and, therefore, the burden on the healthcare system”, it added.

According to current estimates, “it can be assumed that ordinary structures will be sufficient to manage the situation”.

However, unless new, deadly variants emerge in the near future, health officials  expect the new wave to be milder than the ones  that struck in the winter of 2020 and 2021.

There are several reasons for this optimism:

Higher immunity

Due to vaccinations and infections, “it is estimated that 97 percent of the Swiss population has been in contact with the virus”, which means that “immunity within the population is currently high”, authorities said.

Lighter course

This means that unlike the early Covid strains like Alpha and Delta, which were highly virulent, the latest dominant mutation — Omicron and its subvariants — while highly contagious, are also less dangerous for most people.

New vaccines

The new version of the Moderna vaccine, which should better target certain sub-variants of Omicron, will be rolled in Switzerland from October 10th.

Compared to the original vaccine, which was effective mostly against early strains and offered no protection against Omicron, “the new vaccine produces a stronger immune response against the Omicron variants BA.1 and BA.4/5″, according to the drug regulatory body, Swissmedic.

READ MORE: BREAKING: Switzerland approves new Covid-19 boosters

Is the government planning any specific measures this winter?

While the severity of the new wave is not yet known, authorities have made several ‘just-in-case’ provisions by, for instance, extending the Covid-19 law until June 2024.

This legislation, which was approved in a referendum in November 2021, allows the Federal Council to maintain and apply emergency measures that are necessary to manage the pandemic. Without the extension, ithe law would lapse in December of this year.

READ MORE: Covid-19 law: How Switzerland reacted to the referendum results

“No one wants to reactivate the Covid law. But after two years of the pandemic, we have understood that we must be ready”, said MP Mattea Meyer.

While no mask mandates or other restrictions are being discussed at this time, the re-activated legislation would allow the authorities to quickly introduce any measures they deem necessary, according to the evolution of the epidemiological situation.

More preparations from the cantons

As it would be up to the cantons to apply measures set by the federal government, some have asked that financing be made available in case regional hospitals have to again accommodate patients from other cantons.

They are also making sure enough intensive care beds are ready for Covid patients.

What about the Covid certificate and tracing?

Though it is no longer used in Switzerland, the certificate continues to be required abroad.

The government will ensure its international compatibility.

The legal basis for the SwissCovid tracking app will also remain in force and can be reactivated during the winter of 2023/2024, if necessary.

MPs are also debating possible rules to be enforced for cross-border workers in the event of border closures.

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