Covid Forever: French PM Calls for Return of Masks in Closed Spaces

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. Weekly session of Questions to the government at the Senate, in Paris, France, on December 13. (Photo by Adrien Fillon/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (Photo by Adrien Fillon/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Adrien Fillon/NurPhoto via Getty Images

During the holiday season, people should once again cover their mouths with masks to prevent another outbreak of the coronavirus, French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne said on Tuesday.

Élisabeth Borne, who was appointed as prime minister earlier this year after President Emmanuel Macron’s re-election, said that France is facing a “triple epidemic” of the seasonal flu, bronchiolitis, and the Chinese coronavirus, threatening to put heavy strains on the public healthcare system.

Therefore, she urged the public to once again wear masks in confined spaces as well as redoubling the call to take a Covid-19 vaccine, noting that they are still freely available in France.

In “a message of responsibility to citizens,” the French PM said per broadcaster BFMTV: “We all have a part and a role to play.”

She called on the public to show an “act of solidarity” with healthcare workers by putting on masks “as soon as we are in an enclosed space where there are many.”

“When we have to be with the family, we must respect barrier gestures and vaccination, that’s how we help caregivers,” Borne added.

As of Sunday, there were 37,264 new cases reported in France, a decline of 19.7 per cent from the previous week. There has also been a decline for positive test results, with just 28.66 out of every 100 tests given coming back positive, a 26.88 per cent drop since the previous week.

Yet at the same time hospitalisations have actually risen, with 24,173 people in the hospital as a result of the Wuhan virus as of December 16th, an increase of 9.57 per cent over the previous week. Intensive care cases also rose, up 17.35 per cent, with 1,393 people being treated as such.

There has been some movement towards bringing back masks as a means of confronting the virus, with L.A. county in the United States urging residents last month to once again don the face covering. While the local left-wing government has previously threatened a possible return of mandates should infection rates reach a “high” threshold within the community, it has yet to do so.

In contrast, last week, the United Kingdom actually eased rules on wearing masks in care homes. Previously, the government mandated that masks be worn at all times in care homes, but now they will be given the option to “utilise their own skills and knowledge on appropriate measures.”

Announcing the measure, Minister of State for Care Helen Whately said: “The darkest days of the pandemic are thankfully behind us. But it doesn’t feel like that for people living in care homes or being cared for at home, when many of the people they see are still behind a mask.

“So much of what we communicate is through our expressions, our faces, and our smiles – especially for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Many rely on lip reading, and face masks don’t make the job any easier for care workers either.

“That’s why we’re making this change. We want care agencies and residential homes to decide what’s best for the people they look after. I hope this means thousands of people who are looked after by care workers will get to see a smile this Christmas.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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