France lifts most health restrictions, including the use of masks

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The French government will relax most anti-Covid restrictions on Monday, despite the first signs of a resumption of the epidemic. However, the mask is still mandatory in transport and in health establishments.

The use of a mask inside is no longer mandatory in most places, as is the presentation of the vaccination card to have a coffee at the bar, go to the cinema or a restaurant. Most of the anti-Covid restrictions are lifted, Monday, March 14.

Monday’s stage boils down to two main steps. The vaccination card, which requires you to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to access many places, it will be lifted although its “health” version, which also works with a negative test for the virus, will remain in health establishments in the broad sense: hospitals, nursing homes…

The mask will no longer be mandatory, with the exception of transport and, again, health establishments. This relief particularly affects schools, businesses and companies, which will maintain the option of imposing it or not on their employees. The Ministry of Education “strongly” recommends contacting cases “indoors during the 7 days after the occurrence of the confirmed case.”

Despite the increase in cases, there is no change in strategy

If at the beginning of March, when the government announced these relief measures, the strong and long fifth wave of the epidemic was clearly falling again, this is no longer the case. In recent days, the number of new positive cases has even risen again: the average of the last seven days exceeded 65,250 on Sunday, compared to 50,646 a week earlier.

This change in trend has so far had no effect on intensive care services, even if an increase in the number of hospitalizations was recorded on Sunday.

“We still have to wait a bit to see if this trend is confirmed, but in fact at the European level we see the same thing,” said Sunday on France Inter Yazdan Yazdanpanah, head of the infectious diseases department at Bichat hospital. in Paris. This member of the Scientific Council sees “three reasons” for this: the presence of the BA2 subvariant “a little more transmissible”, the “reopening of schools” after the holidays and “probably a relaxation of the population, which is quite normal” .

Conceding that there was currently a “recovery of cases”, John Castex However, he ruled out a “change of strategy” on Saturday.

“For two years, there have always been risks and benefits in what we do. We are not in a situation of total certainty,” explained Yazdan Yazdanpanah, recalling that this time “80% of people” are vaccinated and that “a proportion significant part of the population had already been affected by the infection. “That immunity probably protects us. At least in terms of hospitalizations.”

call surveillance

If after two years of pandemic, the end of the restrictions promises to be greeted with relief by many French, scientists call on everyone to maintain precautions, for example, against the immunocompromised.

“It’s too early to turn the page on Covid even if we really want to! We must remain vigilant,” Rémi Salomon, president of the AP-HP (Paris Hospitals) establishment commission, urged on Tuesday on Twitter.

The Government has also decided to open “from now on the fourth dose to those over 80 years of age” and “strongly recommends that people who are fragile due to their age or their pathologies maintain the use of a mask in closed places and in large concentrations”.

with AFP

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