France ponders return to masks on public transport

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By Euronews  with AFP
Commuters waiting for a subway at at Gare Saint Lazare metro station in Paris, Friday, 18 February, 2022.
Commuters waiting for a subway at at Gare Saint Lazare metro station in Paris, Friday, 18 February, 2022.   -   Copyright  Michel Euler/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

Hardly anyone wears a mask on public transport in France anymore, despite government recommendations to do so.

And now the French Health Minister, François Braun, has suggested the country should go 'back to the good habits of protective measure'. He made the comment whilst visiting a hospital in Paris.

"I'm asking people to wear the mask on public transport, as I have already said, in places where we are close to each other because the person next to you, you cannot know if he or she is not coming here precisely to see the doctor, because he or she is undergoing cancer treatment or because he or she has received a lung or kidney transplant. So it is really a responsibility of all of us and a responsibility of all our citizens. Let's get back to the good habits of protective measures."

However, members of the public say they're weary of pandemic restrictions. 

Edy Paulo Miguel is a consultant at LVMH. He spoke to AFP at a metro station in Paris: 

"Should [wearing masks on public transport] be made compulsory? That's a big question. Personally, I think we have to find a solution to get used to COVID, because we have the impression that it comes and goes, comes and goes. I think that making it compulsory is a bit difficult because today people are fed up with the whole situation. And for me personally, it should not be made compulsory."

But as winter sets in, new cases of flu, COVID-19, and bronchitis are surging, particularly in children, and that's already putting the French health system under strain.