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French authorities 'encourage' mask use as COVID cases surge

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euronews.com

Tourism is booming again in France - and so is COVID-19. French officials have “invited" or “recommended” people to go back to using face masks but stopped short of renewing restrictions that would scare visitors away or revive antigovernment protests.From Paris commuters to tourists on the French Riviera, many people seem to welcome the government’s light touch, while some worry that required prevention measures may be needed.Virus-related hospitalisations rose quickly in France over the past two weeks, with nearly 1,000 patients with COVID-19 admitted to hospital each day according to government data.

Infections are also rising across other European countries, but France has an exceptionally high proportion of people in the hospital, according to Our World in Data estimates.French government spokesperson Olivia Gregoire said this week that there are no plans to reintroduce national regulations that limit or set conditions for gathering indoors and other activities.“The French people are sick of restrictions," she said Wednesday on channel BFMTV. “We are confident that people will behave responsibly."France's parliamentary elections last month resulted in President Emmanuel Macron losing his majority in the national legislature, while parties on the far right and the far left that had protested his government’s earlier vaccine and mask rules gained seats.After the prime minister this week recommended that people resume wearing masks on public transportation, commuter Raphaelle Vertaldi said, “We need to deal with the virus, but we can’t stop living because of it.”Vertaldi, who was boarding a train in Boussy-Saint-Antoine south of Paris, said she opposed mandatory mask use but would cover her mouth and nose again, if the

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