PARIS (AP) – France lifted the most COVID-19 restrictions on Monday, eliminating the need to wear face masks in most environments and allowing people who have not been vaccinated to return to restaurants, sports venues and other venues.
The move had been announced earlier this month by the French government based on assessments of the improved situation in hospitals and after weeks of a steady drop in infections. It happens less than a month before the first round of the presidential election, scheduled for April 10.
But in recent days, the number of new infections has begun to rise again, raising concerns among some scientists that it may be too early to lift restrictions. The number of new infections has reached more than 60,000 based on a seven-day average, up from about 50,000 a week before.
From Monday, people are no longer required to show proof of vaccination to enter places such as restaurants and bars, cinemas, theaters, trade fairs and to use interregional transport. The so-called vaccine passport had entered into force at the end of January.
In hospitals and nursing homes, unvaccinated people must present a recent negative test or evidence of recent recovery to enter.
It is no longer necessary to wear masks in schools, businesses and offices. They remain mandatory in public transport and in hospitals and other health facilities. More than 92% of people aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated in France, which has a population of 67 million.
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