Court suspends order to wear masks outdoor in Paris - AFP

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By Reuters Staff

PARIS (Reuters) - A French administrative tribunal on Thursday suspended an order that masks be worn on the streets of Paris, news agency AFP reported.

The mask mandate, imposed by Paris prefecture, the local arm of the interior ministry, had been in place in the capital since Dec. 31 in a bid to curb the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The ruling by the Paris Administrative Tribunal comes a day after another court in Versailles, near the capital, suspended a similar order to wear masks outdoors in the Yvelines region, deeming the mandate "an excessive, disproportionate and inappropriate infringement ... of personal freedom".

There was no immediate reaction from the Paris Prefecture.

The greater Paris region is France's Omicron hotspot, although the variant is running rampant nationwide. Data showed an incidence rate of 3,899 infections per 100,000 residents over the past seven days.

The court's decision was welcomed in some quarters.

"Live free, live happy!" far-right politician Florian Philippot wrote on Twitter. Philippot has spearheaded waves of street protests against President Emmanuel Macron's COVID-19 restrictions, including France's health pass.

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