France to scrap mask rule in schools for areas with low Covid rates

France to scrap mask rule in schools for areas with low Covid rates
Photo: Pascal Guyot/AFP
The French government spokesman has announced plans to end the requirements for children to wear masks in primary schools - but only in areas which have low rates of Covid infections.

Speaking after the weekly meeting of the Defence Council, which decides on Covid-related restrictions, government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced a relaxation of the mask rule in some primary schools.

However he added that the health passport would remain in place in all areas of France for now, after suggestions that it too could be lifted in areas with low infection rates.

READ ALSO The Covid health protocol for French schools

Overall the Covid situation in France remains positive, with infection rates continuing a steady week-on-week fall. More than half of France – 41 out of 101 mainland and overseas départements – now have incidence levels below the alert threshold of 50 cases per 100,000 people.

Only one area – the overseas French territory of French Guiana which borders Brazil – has an incidence rate of over 250.

From Monday, October 4th, children will no longer have to wear a mask in primary schools in any département with a stable incidence rate of below 50.

The below graph from CovidTracker shows the areas with incidence rates of 50 or under green, although Attal said areas would have to have a ‘stable’ 50 rate before the mask rule would be changed – this was later clarified as meaning having a rate of 50 or below for at least five days.

President Emmanuel Macron had suggested that the health passport too could be lifted in areas with low incidence rates but, for now at least, it will remain, said Attal.

The government is currently preparing a bill to extend the use of the health passport past its current expiry date of November 15th – something that requires parliamentary agreement.

“The vaccination campaign is a French success story,” said Attal, adding that 14 million French people have been vaccinated since Emmanuel Macron announced the implementation of the health pass last July.

Over the weekend France passed the threshold of 50 million people given at least one vaccine dose, from a total population of 67 million and a total eligible population (those aged 12 and over) of 57 million.


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