• France has recommended wearing surgical masks in public
  • The country has surpassed 3 million COVID-19 infections
  • Some other European countries have also moved to make medical-grade masks mandatory

The French government has banned certain home-made masks from being worn in public, saying they may not be effective in stopping the spread of the new and more transmissible variant of COVID-19. The country has instead recommended that people wear surgical masks.

Health Minister Olivier Véran said the new mask recommendations from the country’s health experts also include industrially-made fabric masks listed under category 2, according to The Guardian.

Wearing masks in public places is mandatory in France. The government has now recommended three types of masks — surgical FFP1, the FFP2 and fabric masks — which are made according to category 1 standards.

Category 1 masks filter at least 90 percent of the particles emitted with a size greater than or equal to 3 microns while category 2 masks only filter 70 percent of the particles. The FFP2 masks filter at least 94 percent of the particles.

The French Academy of Medicine has criticized the new mandate by the government, citing the lack of scientific proof against the protection offered by home-made masks, The Guardian reported.

France has surpassed 3 million COVID-19 infections and has reported over 70,000 coronavirus-related deaths to date, according to data collected by John Hopkins University. The government on Sunday imposed new border controls in efforts to stem the spread of the virus as high rates of infections and hospitalisations were reported in the country.

The French government has also said that a third national lockdown might be needed as the cases of the new variants of the virus increase. The French government’s top medical adviser on COVID-19 policy, Jean-François Delfraissy, has called for swift action and said that there was an "emergency" in the country to combat coronavirus.

Other European countries have also moved to make medical-grade masks mandatory as the new variant of COVID-19, which is considered more transmissible and deadlier, afflicted countries.

A month ago, the German government announced that all people will be required to wear either FFP1 or FFP2 masks in public places.

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