France lifts outdoor mask requirement despite high case rates across Europe

International Desk, Mar 14 (EFE).- Despite a steady increase in coronavirus infections, several European countries are easing coronavirus restrictions.

In France, face coverings will no longer be mandatory in most public places apart from on public transportation, hospitals and other health institutions.

The requirement to show a Covid-19 vaccination certificate to enter restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters and stadiums has also been scrapped after being put into force in January.

The changes were announced by French prime minister Jean Castex on March 3, when the number of coronavirus infections were on a downward trend.

But cases have recently increased with the seven-day incidence rate exceeding 600 per 100,000 people.

Meanwhile in Germany, where authorities have been easing coronavirus restrictions, the incidence rate increased to 1,543, compared to 1,259 registered a week ago, according to figures from Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

Health authorities reported 92,378 new infections and 19 deaths within the past 24 hours. Last week, there were 78,428 cases.

“​​Germany now has the highest coronavirus incidence in Europe. Tendency is increasing, many are dead,” German health minister, Karl Lauterbach, wrote on Twitter.

“Unvaccinated people should be vaccinated urgently. Those who have been vaccinated are now often careless. They know that they can become infected but usually do not become seriously ill. Unvaccinated are now defenseless,” he added.

So far, some 76.5% of Germany’s 63.3 million population have been vaccinated with at least two vaccine doses.

While Spain on Sunday marked two years since going into nationwide lockdown, EU member states Friday agreed to extend the digital Covid-19 certificate by one year, until June 30, 2023.

“The Digital Covid Certificate has played an important role in facilitating the free movement of people during the pandemic. And the principle of gradually lifting travel restrictions if the epidemiological situation so permits still applies,” the EU council said in a statement.EFE


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