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HEALTH

Moderna vaccine will be used in areas of France worst-hit by Covid-19

France's health minister said on Sunday that more than 50,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine from US-based Moderna, newly authorised in Europe, would be ready for use this week in hard-hit regions.

Moderna vaccine will be used in areas of France worst-hit by Covid-19
Photo: AFP

Olivier Véran told Europe 1 radio that after arriving in France on Monday, the vaccine would be sent to towns and cities with the highest virus circulation, largely in eastern France – from Strasbourg on the German border to Nice on the Mediterranean.

Coming on top of ongoing distribution of Pfizer-BioNTech shots, the Moderna doses would reach vaccination centres by Wednesday, Véran added.

The health ministry said in a statement that almost eight million doses of Moderna's vaccine would arrive in France by July.

Like the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, it takes two injections spaced out over several weeks for Moderna's version to reach maximum effectiveness.

It poses fewer logistical challenges however as it requires storage only at -20C rather than around -80C for Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine.

After fierce criticism of the government for a halting start to its campaign, Veran said that by the end of the weekend over 100,000 people would have been vaccinated.

Neighbouring Germany has already topped half a million, while Britain says it is injecting 200,000 per day.

 

Several areas of eastern France re reporting worrying high levels of Covid-19 cases and increasing pressure on hospitals. An earlier curfew of 6pm – 6am has now been extended to 23 départements.

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HEALTH

French public urged to wear face masks again on public transport

With France in the middle of a new wave of Covid-19, the country's health minister has urged the public to once again wear face masks on public transport and in crowded spaces.

French public urged to wear face masks again on public transport

With cases on the rise again, French Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon said she is “[asking] the French to put masks back on in transport” in an interview with RTL on Monday, 

For the time being, however, she stressed it was just advice, rather than an obligation, and masks have in fact been recommended on public transport since the legal requirement to wear them was lifted in May. 

However with France reporting over 50,000 daily cases of Covid-19 the government is clearly concerned by the current wave of the pandemic.

Bourguignon said that “we must protect ourselves and protect others,” adding that wearing a mask is “a civic gesture.”

She urged people to don their masks as soon as they see a crowded train or station.

READ MORE: Return of the health pass? How France plans to tackle new wave of Covid cases

In addition to public transport, Bourguignon is also asking the French to once again mask-up in “all crowded, enclosed areas.”

Currently, masks are only required in hospitals, health centres and places that have vulnerable residents such as nursing homes. They are recommended in crowded spaces where it is impossible to practice social distancing.

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