Face masks are no longer needed on metros, trains and planes in France starting today, as French authorities withdraw one of the last remaining health measures imposed since the outbreak began in 2020.
Health Minister Olivier Veran announced last week that masks are no longer mandatory on public transport and in taxis, following a large drop in Covid cases recently.
“I feel free. Breathing properly is not that easy with a mask,” Jaceula Madimba, a 26 -year -old Parisian, told the metro today.
France began loosening strict face mask rules in February after a winter spike in cases, but for weeks they were still needed at work or at school until the infection subsided again.
Mr Veran warned that the new measure did not mean the epidemic was over, and insisted permanent masks were recommended.
“I think wearing a mask is still necessary just for safety, for my friends and family,” said Aurelia Imbert, an engineer on her way to the Czech Republic to work from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
Masks, as well as health passes proving Covid vaccination, are still required to enter the hospital.
The pandemic appears to be under control in France for the time being, but some experts have warned against writing it into the history books, as new variants are likely to emerge.
People with weakened immune systems have expressed their concerns.
“I will continue to wear masks and invite everyone to do so. We protect each other, let’s think about immunosuppression,” said French epidemiologist Mahmoud Zureik.
France has recorded more than 147,000 Covid deaths since the outbreak emerged.
Elsewhere in Europe, Spain still requires masks to enter hospitals, nursing homes and public transport, while in Belgium masks are only required on buses, trams and trains.
In Italy, permanent masks are mandatory in hospitals and public transport, but also in cinemas, theaters and schools.
(This story has not been edited by AGRASMARTCITY staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)