The French government announced Thursday that primary school students in areas with a low CCP virus infection rate will no longer have to wear face masks starting next month.
According to a government decree issued on Sept. 30, the new rule will go into effect from Oct. 4 and will include regions that have fewer than 50 CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus cases per 100,000 citizens for five consecutive days.
Paris and nearby suburbs are not among the 47 metropolitan departments, or administrative districts, where the mandatory wearing of masks will be ended, health ministry data showed.
Officials shared a graphic on Sept. 28 that shows a map with areas in red indicating that the region exceeded the COVID-19 level of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days.
???? 45 départements devraient être classés rouge, car ils dépassent le niveau d’alerte de 50 cas pour 100 000 habitants en 7 jours (données du 25/09)
➡️ Plus d’infos : https://t.co/h3BcdLsNFb pic.twitter.com/d2iwvL4bXu
— ???? CovidTracker Bot (@CovidTracker_fr) September 28, 2021
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Sept. 29 that France was also planning to extend a state of emergency until next summer to deal with the CCP virus pandemic.
“What we will propose to the parliament is to maintain for several more months, until the summer, the possibility of using it,” Attal said during a press briefing following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The extension would mean that the government would keep the power to extend or reinstate restrictive measures such as lockdowns, limits on crowd movements, and the so-called health pass—proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 status—that currently is required until mid-November.
France’s vaccine passport, which was introduced in June after the Parliament approved a draft law, is required for citizens to enter restaurants, clubs, and a number of other public places.
The government-imposed measure has been widely criticized and also prompted mass protests all across the country, with tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets to demonstrate against COVID-19 mandates and passports.
Reuters contributed to this report.