France moves back toward public mask-wearing as COVID cases continue two-week rise

Health minister stops short of actually requiring masks.

Updated: June 28, 2022 - 1:13pm

Authorities in France this week indicated the country may be moving back toward widespread public mask usage, with the nation's top health official asking citizens to begin wearing face coverings on public transport as COVID cases continue to rise. 

Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon said she was "ask[ing] the French people to put the mask on in public transport," calling it a "civic duty."

"I'm not merely advising it, I'm asking for it," noting that she was "not saying it should be mandatory."

COVID cases have been rising in France since early June, with daily confirmed infections having roughly tripled since then, though they still remain well below the sky-high numbers posted in January at the height of the Omicron surge. 

France took a proactive approach to mask-wearing early in the pandemic, mandating them in most public and away-from-home settings and only fully relaxing them in May of this year. 

The country retains one of the highest raw COVID death numbers in the world, though its per-capita death rate is significantly lower. 

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