France asks citizens to wear masks again in public transport

French Health and Prevention Minister Brigitte Bourguignon receives a second booster vaccination dose against COVID-19 in a pharmacy in Paris, on June 23, 2022. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

PARIS / LOS ANGELES / ADDIS ABABA – French people should start wearing masks again in crowded areas, especially in public transport, as France has to deal with a new wave of COVID-19 infections fueled by new variants of the disease, Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon said on Monday.

"I'm not saying it should be mandatory but I do ask the French people to put the mask on in public transport," she told RTL, adding it was a "civic duty" to do so.

France reported new 17,601 coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the highest figure for a Monday since April 18

"I'm not merely advising it, I'm asking for it," adding face masks should also be worn again in other closed areas, such as workplaces or shops.

France reported new 17,601 coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the highest figure for a Monday since April 18.

Five days ago, French vaccination chief Alain Fischer confirmed the country was in the midst of a new COVID-19 wave, like other European countries, adding then he was personally in favour of reinstating mandatory face mask wearing on public transport. 

New infections have been steadily rising since the end of May in France, with the seven-day moving average of daily new cases more then quadrupling between the May 27 figure of 17,705 and Monday's 71,018.

That total is nonetheless still five times lower than the 366,179 record at the start of the year.

The number of people hospitalized for the disease fell to a six-month low of 13,876 on June 18 but it has since increased by 1,223 to 15,099, a four-week high.

There is traditionally a two-week delay between cases and hospital admissions trends and then a similar delay regarding COVID-deaths.

France's COVID death toll rose by 48 over 24 hours on Tuesday, to 149,406.

A miner receives a Covid-19 vaccine at Anglo American Platinum Ltd's Tumela mine in Amandelbult, South Africa, on August 12. (WALDO SWIEGERS / BLOOMBERG)

African countries

The African continent reported 7,985 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases during the past 24 hours, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said Friday evening.

Figures from the Africa CDC showed that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the continent rose from 11,580,073 Thursday to 11,588,058 as of Friday.

The death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic on the African continent has reached 252,862 while 10,911,109 people who have been infected with the disease have recovered, the specialized healthcare agency of the African Union said.

South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt are among the countries with the most cases in the continent, according to the agency.

In this Nov 6, 2020, file photo, Certified Nursing Assistant Angelica Corral constantly changes her personal protective equipment (PPE) as she travels from room to room at the El Paso Long Term Acute Care hospital in central El Paso, Texas. (MARK LAMBIE / THE EL PASO TIMES VIA AP)


Nearly 330,000 child COVID-19 cases had been reported in the United States in the past four weeks, according to the latest report published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children's Hospital Association.

Nearly 68,000 child COVID-19 cases were reported for the week ending June 23, far higher than one year ago, the week of June 24, 2021, when 8,400 child cases were reported, according to the report.

Approximately 5.8 million child COVID-19 cases had been added in the United States this year, according to the report.

Over 13.6 million children in the United States had tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, said the report.

There is an urgent need to collect more age-specific data to assess the severity of illness related to new variants as well as potential longer-term effects, said the AAP.

"It is important to recognize there are immediate effects of the pandemic on children's health, but importantly we need to identify and address the long-lasting impacts on the physical, mental, and social well-being of this generation of children and youth," said the AAP.