French health minister Olivier Véran on Wednesday announced that from next Monday the wearing of face masks on public transport across the country will no longer be mandatory, but will remain recommended.
Prime minister Jean Castex also urged businesses to encourage working from home and called on people to 'lift the pedal' on social interactions such as office parties as the year-end holidays approach.
After a post-lockdown record level of new coronavirus infections in France registered on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday that the wearing of face masks to contain transmission of the virus is to be made a legal requirement in all public spaces in Paris, adding that 'The spread of the epidemic could become exponential if we do not react quickly'.
After a steady rise in numbers of people testing positive with Covid-19 virus infection in Paris and its suburban ring, where the percentage of those testing positive is also above the national average, the wearing of face masks in 'crowded zones' has been made compulsory as of Monday.
A 59-year-old bus driver in the south-west French town of Bayonne who was beaten and left brain dead by a group of men passengers on Sunday allegedly in a row over their refusal to wear face masks as required by law, died on Friday in hospital.
A factory in north-west France producing medical face masks, normally at a rate of 100 million per year, is working round the clock to meet demand from pharmacies and hospitals in Europe and Asia as the deadly coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.