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COVID-19

EU urges countries to reinstate curbs to halt coronavirus resurgence

EU health authorities have urged countries to consider reinstating some restrictions if they have started seeing a resurgence of new coronavirus cases.

EU urges countries to reinstate curbs to halt coronavirus resurgence
Germany was one of the countries that reported most of the new cases in late July, said ECDC. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP

In its latest risk assessment, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said there was evidence that the novel coronavirus was picking up speed.

“While many countries are now testing mild and asymptomatic cases, which has resulted in increased case reports, there is a true resurgence in cases in several countries as a result of physical distancing measures being relaxed,” the agency said.

The Stockholm-based agency said for those countries seeing an increase “the risk of further escalation of Covid-19 is high”.

If those countries fail to implement or reinforce restrictions, the risk was “very high”, it warned.

 

According to the ECDC, countries that had seen the increase after control measures were lifted, “should consider re-instating selected measures through a phased, step-wise and sustainable approach”.

The ECDC also said the total number of daily cases, as well as the 14-day incidence rate seemed to be increasing, “although it is currently lower than the first peak which occurred on April 9th, 2020”.

In the two weeks leading up to August 2th, most of the over 100,000 new cases were reported in Spain, Romania, France, the UK and Germany, it said.

According to a tally by AFP, over 3.3 million cases of Covid-19 have so far been recorded in Europe as well as 213,353 deaths.

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COVID-19

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

In France, masks will no longer be required on indoor transport as of Monday, May 16th. Here are rules and recommendations that are still in place:

Where in France do you still need a face mask?

Members of the public in France have been asked to wear face masks for the most part of two years, at times even outside in the street.

Since March 14th, 2022, the facial coverings have no longer been mandatory in most establishments such as shops, and as of Monday, May 16th, it will no longer be mandatory on indoor public transport. 

As of May 16th, you will therefore no longer be required to wear a mask in the following transports:

  • Buses and coaches
  • Subways and streetcars
  • RER and TER
  • TGV and interregional lines
  • Taxis

Regarding airplanes whether or not you must wear a mask is a bit more complicated.

On Wednesday, May 11th, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced that from May 16th onward it would no longer be required to wear a mask in airports and on board aircraft in the European Union. However, Germany has stated that it does not have the intention of lifting its requirement of wearing a mask on its airlines – this would include the Lufthansa airline. Thus, it will be necessary for passengers to still very to rules each airline has in place, which could be the case when travelling to a country that still has indoor mask requirements in place.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky specified that vulnerable people should continue to wear masks, and that “a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, to reassure those seated nearby.”

Masks still obligatory in medical settings

However, it will still be mandatory for caregivers, patients and visitors in health care facilities, specifically including hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, retirement homes, and establishments for the disabled. 

For people who are vulnerable either due to their age or their status as immunocompromised, wearing a mask will continue to be recommended, though not required, particularly for enclosed spaces and in large gatherings.

Masks are also still recommended for people who test positive, people who might have come in contact with Covid-19, symptomatic people and healthcare professionals.

Will masks come back?

It is possible. French Health Minister Olivier Véran does not exclude the return of mandatory mask-wearing, should the health situation require it.

What are the other Covid-19 restrictions that remain in place?

The primary restriction that has not changed is the French government’s regulation for testing positive: If you are unvaccinated and test positive, isolation is still required for 10 days, if you are vaccinated, this requirement is seven days. Isolation can be reduced from 10 to 7 days or from 7 to 5 days if a negative covid test is performed, and symptoms are no longer present.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid restrictions remain in place in France?

The French Health Ministry still recommends following sanitary measures such as: wearing a mask in places where it is still mandatory, hand washing, regular ventilation of rooms, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and using a single-use handkerchief (tissue).

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