Workplaces main source of coronavirus clusters in France, says top doctor

Workplaces are the main source of Covid-19 clusters in France, one of the country’s top coronavirus experts has revealed, insisting that wearing face masks must be made mandatory in all enclosed spaces.

Some 50 percent of 609 coronavirus clusters across France originate from various companies, both medical and non-medical, Eric Caumes, head of infectious diseases at Paris hospital La Pitie-Salpetriere, told Franceinfo radio on Thursday. Some 22 percent of those clusters have been detected in private companies, he added.

“Given that companies have the highest rate of virus infection clusters, we should make the wearing of masks mandatory in all enclosed spaces, including in private companies,” Caumes said.

Moreover, all employers should ask their staff to work from home if possible, he added, explaining that working remotely is the best option to “prevent infection between colleagues.”

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While various businesses have proven to be coronavirus hotbeds in France, other public places fared significantly better. Public transport, including planes and trains, accounted only for around one percent of coronavirus clusters, while schools and universities comprised some four percent.

Apart from the alarming spread of Covid-19 in workplaces, Caumes also criticized sloppy testing processes, stating that French health authorities are checking suspected coronavirus patients “too late” and “a little bit in a vacuum.”

“The average time between when you have symptoms and when you get tested is three to four days. It is way too long because during that time there are other chains of transmission initiated,” he said.

France has registered some 200,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 30,000 deaths. While the figures lag far behind the worst-affected countries, the nation’s authorities sounded the alarm over the re-accelerating spread of the infection in recent days, promising to re-impose certain restrictions in the largest cities across the country to curb the spread.

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Globally, the coronavirus pandemic has killed nearly 750,000 people, while the total number of cases registered is approaching the 21 million mark. The US, Brazil and India remain the worst-affected nations, amounting to roughly half of the global case count.

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