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HEALTH

Masks to remain compulsory on public transport in France ‘at least until November’

Wearing a mask on public transport in France will remain compulsory at least until November or until a vaccine is available, says the country's transport minister.

Masks to remain compulsory on public transport in France 'at least until November'
Failing to wear a mask on public transport can earn you a €135 fine. Photo: AFP

Wearing a mask on all forms of public transport, including taxis, is compulsory in France and people who flout the rule risk a €135 fine.

And it seems that will stay the case for some time, according to transport minister Elizabeth Borne.

She told BFMTV: “Wearing a mask will remain compulsory for at least four months after the end of the State of Health Emergency”.

 

The State of Emergency ends on July 10th – and the government has already said it will not seek to renew it – so that takes us until November.

And if you think wearing a mask is uncomfortable now, just imagine what it will be like on the Paris Metro in August.

The minister added: “We must not forget that the virus is circulating…If we do not want a second wave, we must continue to be attentive.

“As long as we have a risk, as long as we have a circulating virus and as long as we have no vaccine and no treatment…I think it is good to continue to wear the mask”.

France has been gradually lifting many of its health restrictions as the number of Covid-19 cases continue to fall.

However there are still some rules in place, including a ban on large gatherings, kissing and restrictions on international travel.

READ ALSO The 9 lockdown rules you still have to follow in France

 

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ENVIRONMENT

High pollen counts predicted in France due to heatwave

Pollen from highly allergenic ragweed plant is expected to peak earlier this year, as a result of high temperatures.

High pollen counts predicted in France due to heatwave

Ragweed pollen (ambroisie) is expected to spread earlier this year across many parts of France, particularly in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

The National Aerobiological Surveillance Network (NASN) announced on Tuesday that the Lyon region has reached a critical threshold of ragweed pollen in the air to begin causing allergic reactions in sensitive people. The peak for the concentration of pollen in the air is expected for the end of August, which would be in approximately 20 days.

While the risk of allergic reaction is highest in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes currently, particularly in areas like northern Isère, Drôme, Ardèche and southern Rhône, the plant has spread across different regions in France. Up to 15 percent of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes could experience some level of allergic reaction from the plant, as it is highly allergenic, according to Anses.

It can also be found in Burgundy, Franche-Comté, New Aquitaine, Occitanie, as well as the north of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.

However, in contrast, ragweed is typically neither found in the Northern and Western parts of the country, nor along the Mediterranean coast.

The high pollen counts are expected approximately one week early this year due to the high temperatures seasonal temperatures.

Ragweed pollen can cause runny noses, stinging eyes and even breathing difficulties in people with an allergy, said Samuel Monnier, engineer at the NASN, to BFMTV.

If you have a ragweed allergy, consider consulting a doctor or allergist to pre-empt or treat the symptoms, recommends Monnier. Residents in regions where the pollen count is high might also consider drying clothes inside rather than outside, in order to keep the pollen from sticking to clothing. 

The plant is considered particularly invasive, and many local authorities have put into place systems to remove it when spotted.  In order to report the presence of ragweed, you can go to the website signalement-ambroisie.fr or download the smartphone application “Signalement-Ambroisie.”

If you’re sensitive to pollen, you can keep up with the interactive pollen count maps across France by going to the website www.pollens.fr/

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