France to stop mandatory COVID-19 mask wearing in some primary schools

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks with students during a visit at Bouge primary school in Malpasse district of Marseille, France, September 2, 2021 as millions of children in France go back to school Thursday for the new academic year, wearing face masks as part of rules aimed at slowing down the spreading of COVID-19 in the country. Daniel Cole/Pool via REUTERS

PARIS, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Pupils will from Oct. 4 no longer have to wear protective face masks in French primary schools in areas with a low COVID-19 infection rate, according to a government decree released on Thursday.

Paris and nearby suburbs are not among the 47 metropolitan departments, or administrative districts, where mandatory wearing of masks will be ended, health ministry data showed.

The move follows an improvement in the COVID-19 situation France since the government accelerated its vaccination campaign.

Areas where masks will cease to be mandatory in primary schools must have fewer than 50 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 citizens for five consecutive days.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday France was planning to extend a state of emergency until next summer to deal with the epidemic. read more

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Reporting by Matthieu Protard, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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