THE FRENCH government has issued a warning that fabric facemasks do not offer sufficient protection against the transmission of Covid-19.
French officials have now recommended the use of surgical masks rather than fabric 'fashion maks', as they are more effective in preventing person-to-person virus transmission.
As in Ireland, French citizens are obliged to wear masks in public places, but until
now the government has refrained from issuing advice on the type of mask that
should be worn.
On Thursday, French Health Minister Oliver Veran said "The recommendation that I make to the French people is to no longer use fabric masks".
According to French media, Vernon went on to say that skiing resorts are unlikely to open anytime soon, and that tighter coronavirus restrictions will come into force should there be a spike in infection rates.
The announcement comes as many EU officials are expressing concern about the
new and highly infectious so-called ‘English variant’ of the virus, as well as new variants detected in countries such as Brazil, Norway and South Africa.
Fabric face masks, which have been a staple item of fashion in countries such as Japan for well over a hundred years, have become enormously popular since the start of the pandemic.
The wide variety of designs, ranging from subtle to the more garish, are seen as something of a compromise by helping people to stay safe and look fashionable at the same time.
But with many countries playing catchup, adopting proactive measures to curtail the spread of the virus as they are introduced by other governments around world, it is possible that the change in advice with regards to fabric face masks could soon apply to other EU countries and beyond.