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People wearing face masks walk near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Photo: Gao Jing/Xinhua via Getty Images

Parisians will be required to wear masks outdoors starting Friday as part of an effort to stymie the spread of COVID-19 driven by the Omicron variant, French police announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: France reported 208,000 new infections Wednesday, setting a new national and European record, Reuters reported.

  • On Tuesday, France had reported 180,000 new infections, itself also a record, per Reuters.
  • "We have never experienced a situation like this," French health minister Olivier Véran said during a press briefing Wednesday, Le Monde reported.

Details: The new mandate will apply to all citizens over the age of 11, with several exceptions permitted, including for cyclists, people participating in a sporting activity, or traveling inside vehicles, per the statement.

  • The rule will also apply to Paris airports Charles de Gaulle, Le Bourget and Paris-Orly.

The big picture: As for the rest of France, authorities in several regions have imposed requirements to wear masks outdoors during New Year's Eve celebrations, Le Monde reported.

  • French police also announced Wednesday that bars in Paris will be ordered to close at 2am on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2022 - Health

Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron

Three COVID-19 testing companies place testing locations outside Grand Central Terminal on Jan. 14 in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Experts are warning that subsequent COVID-19 variants are likely to come after Omicron, AP reports.

Why it matters: The warnings come as there's no guarantee that subsequent variants "will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them," underscoring the need for widespread vaccination, AP writes.

42 mins ago - Health

Student's death renews calls for schools to stock opioid overdose drug

Photo: Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A Connecticut student's death has renewed calls for schools to stock and administer naloxone, a drug that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Why it matters: U.S. drug overdose fatalities reached six figures in a 12-month period for the first time in November, and synthetic or natural opioids were the cause of a majority of the overdoses.

43 mins ago - Sports

Olympians avoiding COVID at all costs ahead of Beijing Games

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

10 days out from the Olympics, athletes around the world are battening down the hatches in hopes of making it to Beijing COVID-free.

Why it matters: The Beijing bubble — a closed-loop system meant to shut off the outside world entirely — is the strictest ever created for a global sporting event.