Now that the infection numbers are rising again, the discussion about mandatory face masks is also returning. Austria already started it, elsewhere governments are still betting on the sense of responsibility of citizens.

The French are counting. The corona wave that is currently emerging is the eighth. It will be less deadly than the first one, but still. In the French media, tickets with death toll are already appearing. The latest French figure: 112 deaths in 24 hours.

In the meantime, all French intensive care units together have already admitted more than a thousand people with corona. In the hospitals there are almost 20,000 patients who could no longer stay at home. More than 50,000 people test positive every day.

France is certainly not the only country in Europe where the corona figures are rising again. There are now more than 1.5 million cases of disease across the EU. And that number is increasing by about 8 percent per week.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and control (ECDC), it is going hard. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the ECDC has been keeping track of how many infections there are in Europe per country. In addition to France, it also notes large increases in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Latvia and Liechtenstein. The list is getting longer.

People don’t want boosters

Last week, the ECDC, together with the World Health Organization (WHO), warned that governments must work. Above all, they must persuade the population to get vaccinated and boosted again, even if that population has long since ceased to feel like it. A new booster campaign should therefore go hand in hand with that for the flu shot, they advise. And right now. “There is no time to lose” is a phrase from the joint statement.

In Austria, the government reacted very quickly. Mouth masks are again mandatory in public transport and in the pharmacy. Anyone visiting a nursing or nursing home should cover their mouth and nose. In Germany, since October 1, a tightened face mask obligation has again applied in public transport, hospitals, health care institutions and when visiting doctors. Also, visitors to hospitals and healthcare institutions must show a Corona test.

Several other national health services also called for the face mask again after the ECDC’s call. For example, Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst said last week that it seems sensible to him that, pending government measures, people put on a face mask in crowded places and where ventilation is poor.

His colleague Brigitte Autran in France said that ” all indicators show a rising line’ and announced that she thinks it is worth considering making mouth and nose masks mandatory again. The French government is currently advising the population to take responsibility for themselves, and to keep their distance.

Shudder at mandatory measures

Alarm bells are also ringing in Germany. The Robert Koch Institute, the German RIVM, says that there are already as many Corona patients in the hospital as during the peak at the beginning of this year. German health minister Karl Lauterbach advises citizens to protect themselves from the virus.

Yet lower governments are still hesitant about mandatory measures. Berlin decided on Tuesday, after a heated discussion, not to extend the now applicable mask requirement to museums and libraries.

In Switzerland, too, the word Maskenpflicht suddenly reappeared in the Press last weekend: a face mask obligation. The authorities wanted to let the population know that it could very well come back later this autumn. For the time being, however, it remains with advice to wear face masks in tram and train, care and hospital.

” It is certainly advisable that people wear a face mask, ” said Colm Henry, Ireland’s head of Public Health. He hopes that a repetition of a winter full of overlapping measures can be prevented. ” That is possible, but not inevitable, ” Henry said on Irish television.

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