Wed, 17 Aug 2022

With hospitalizations up, France weighs return to masks

Robert Besser
04 Jul 2022, 22:44 GMT+10

NICE, France -As some 1,000 Frenchmen are being hospitalized daily with Covid infections, French officials have "invited" or "recommended" the public to return to wearing face masks.

However, France has not issued a return to the mandatory wearing of face masks.

As tourism has returned in large numbers to France this summer, government officials are walking a tightrope, seeking not to dampen tourist arrivals.

Covid infections have increased across Europe and the United States. France, however, has a higher proportion of people being hospitalized, according to Our World in Data.

Meanwhile, French government spokesperson Olivia Gregoire has said that the government is making no plans to reintroduce the mandatory wearing of face masks or restricting the gatherings of people.

"The French people are sick of restrictions," she said last week. "We are confident that people will behave responsibly."

Meanwhile, Paris postal worker Hassani Mohammed said he continues wearing a face mask in public.

"I realized that the pandemic does not belong to the past," Mohammed said, as reported by the Associated Press.

Masks and lockdowns earlier became a flashpoint in France, as thousands took to the streets to protest mandatory measures.

Also, French President Emmanuel Macron has lost his majority in parliament, which would make enacting mandatory measures more difficult.

France lifted most virus restrictions in April. After a two year loss of tourism, foreign tourists have now returned for the summer season.

However, French hospitals are coming under pressure due to Covid admissions, with long-running staff and funding shortages.

French tourism officials have said the country is witnessing a very strong summer season, as the number of tourists visiting the country may surpass pre-Covid years.

"It's been delightful from start to finish," said American Ros Runcie, who was in Nice with her husband Gordon. "Everyone is so pleased to see you, everyone is really polite and nice to visitors," she said, as quoted by the Associated Press.

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