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French Doctors: Don't Talk on Public Transport

Αssociated Press

A patient is injected with the coronavirus vaccine at a clinic in Strasbourg, eastern France, Monday Jan. 4, 2021. (Jean-François Badias / AP)

PARIS — French doctors have new advice to slow the spread of the virus: stop talking on public transport.

The French Academy of Doctors issued guidance Friday saying people should “avoid talking or making phone calls” in subways, buses or anywhere in public where social distancing isn’t possible. Masks have been required since May, but travelers often loosen or remove them to talk on the phone.

Other French experts are urging more dramatic measures – notably a third lockdown.

France’s hospitals now hold more COVID patients than in October, when President Emmanuel Macron imposed a second lockdown. Virus patients occupy more than half of the country’s intensive care beds.

Infections in France are gradually rising this month, at more than 20,000 per day. France currently has the longest virus curfew in Europe, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., and restaurants and tourist sites have been closed since October.

The government has so far sought to avoid a full new lockdown. Protests are expected around France on Saturday against virus-related layoffs and to support those arrested for holding a techno rave party despite virus restrictions.

France has seen 72,647 virus-related deaths.