It is quite a symbol: at the end of the week, for the first time in nine months, the French will be able to leave their homes freely. The curfew will be lifted on Sunday, and the obligation to wear the mask outside from Thursday, June 17, announced the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, Wednesday, after the Council of Ministers.
This measure was imposed little by little from August 2020 in major French cities, the decision and the scope of application being left to the appreciation of mayors and prefects. As for the curfew, it had been put in place from 9 p.m. on October 17 in Ile-de-France and in eight French metropolises, before being extended to the whole of the territory. It was then brought forward to 6 p.m. for the entire metropolis between mid-January and mid-March.
France was one of the last countries to maintain a curfew with Italy and Greece. But calls for it to rise have multiplied in recent days, especially since the controversial exemption granted by the government to Roland Garros so that the semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal can end in the presence of spectators.
Mask required in queues
In a letter delivered to the Director General of Health (DGS) on Tuesday, the High Council of Public Health (HCSP) clarified its recommendations concerning the wearing of the mask. Outdoors, it must remain mandatory wherever social distancing cannot be respected: in queues, in markets, and any other crowded place. The playgrounds, initially included in these “risky” situations, ultimately benefit from an exception and children will be able to remove their masks from Thursday.
“The French should always have one in their pocket or bag, as well as possible, and wear it depending on the circumstances”, underlines Didier Lepelletier, co-chair of the permanent Covid-19 working group at the HCSP. “To do without it completely, it will be necessary to wait until a larger part of the population is vaccinated, and that the risk of transmission is more limited”, he believes.
For a long time, doctors and scientists have emphasized that the risk of being contaminated by a passer-by in a street with little traffic is low. “When we speak, we emit aerosols whose size is between 1 and 100 microns, and it takes about a second for a droplet of 50 microns to fall to the ground”, recalls Didier Lepelletier. “You have to really bawl, be on top of each other, with a high number of cases, so that the risk of contamination is significant”, he continues, recalling that the risk outside mainly concerns gatherings.
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