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Paris imposes the mask and the United Kingdom increases hospital beds

Oxford Street in central London. / EFE

The increase in the number of infections due to the omicron variant of the coronavirus in both countries requires new provisional measures

BEATRIZ JUDGE Correspondent in Paris

New Year’s Eve with a mask in Paris. The mask returns from Saturday to the streets of Paris by decision of the Prefecture of Police, which has decided to impose the mask abroad after the wave of infections in the Paris region.

The French capital registers an incidence rate that is close to 2,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, “the highest level recorded so far, mainly due to the presence of the omicron variant, which is highly contagious,” said the Police Prefecture. Parisians who do not wear a mask abroad will have to pay a fine of 135 euros.

The Paris City Council decided a few days ago to cancel the fireworks and concert scheduled for December 31 on the Champs Elysees due to the rapid expansion of omicron. One million French people currently have covid-19, according to the Ministry of Health. “In the last 24 hours, 208,000 have been diagnosed positively for covid-19,” Health Minister Olivier Véran announced on Wednesday, explaining that “10% of the population is currently a contact case.”

Despite the fact that France is experiencing a “tidal wave” of covid-19, according to Véran, the Government will not impose a curfew on New Year’s Eve, as it did last year, nor a capacity for private parties. But alcohol consumption on public roads will be prohibited to avoid crowds. The bars and restaurants will open on the last night of the year, but the clubs will remain closed until January 24.

The Government has invited the French to take a test –PCR, antigens or self-test– before going to year-end parties to avoid contagion. France authorizes, exceptionally and until January 31, the sale of self-tests in supermarkets and large stores. Until now only pharmacies could sell them.

Concern for patients

In the United Kingdom, there is concern about the increase in the number of patients with covid-19 who occupy beds in the country’s hospitals. According to official data released by the National Health Service, the NHS, the occupation grew yesterday to 11,452 from the 990 reported the previous day.

In the last week the number has grown by more than 4,000. For this reason, the NHS announced that it will provide 4,000 new makeshift beds across the country. In principle, modules will be installed in eight hospitals to accommodate around one hundred people. In addition, places where more beds can be deployed will be identified, for example gyms, schools or large markets.

Currently, the United Kingdom has an incidence rate of 18,606 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The Ministry of Health notified 183,037 new cases of covid-19 on Wednesday, a figure that constitutes a new record in the country.

In the last seven days, 914,723 people have tested positive, a balance that includes five days of data from Northern Ireland, after a mismatch in the notification of infections due to the Christmas holidays.


France, United Kingdom, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Masks, New Years Eve, PCR, Antigen test, Curfew, Covid-19 vaccines, Omicron (variant of CoronaVirus SARS-CoV-2)


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