France asks citizens to wear masks again on public transport

Nation reports 17,601 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours

French Health and Prevention Minister Brigitte Bourguignon has issued the plea after receiving a second booster vaccination. AFP
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French people should start wearing masks again in crowded areas, especially on public transport, as France deals with a new wave of Covid infections, Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon said on Monday.

"I'm not saying it should be mandatory but I do ask the French people to put the mask on in public transport," Ms Bourguignon told RTL.

She said it was a "civic duty" to do so, and "I'm not merely advising it, I'm asking for it".

Ms Bourguignon said face masks should also be worn again in enclosed areas, such as workplaces or shops.

France reported new 17,601 coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the highest figure for a Monday since April 18.

Five days ago, French vaccination chief Alain Fischer confirmed the country was in the middle of a new Covid wave, like other European countries.

He said he was also personally in favour of reinstating mandatory face masks on public transport.

New infections have been steadily rising since the end of May in France, with the seven-day moving average of daily new cases more than quadrupling between the May 27 figure of 17,705 and Monday's 71,018.

That total is still five times lower than the 366,179 record at the start of the year.

The number of people admitted to hospital with the disease fell to a six-month low of 13,876 on June 18, but it has since increased by 1,223 to 15,099, a four-week high.

There is traditionally a two-week delay between cases and hospital admission trends, and then a similar delay for Covid-19 deaths.

France's Covid death toll rose by 48 over 24 hours on Tuesday, to 149,406.

Updated: June 28, 2022, 7:23 AM