Workplaces top source of virus clusters in France, says doctor

PARIS (Reuters) - Workplaces are the main clusters of coronavirus infection in France and companies should have staff work from home as much as possible after the August holidays, one of France's top coronavirus experts said on Thursday.

Weekly health ministry data shows that since May 9, private and public companies have accounted for 22% of 609 clusters of infection. Nearly a third of these clusters are currently under investigation by health authorities.

The data - which excludes retirement homes and individual families - also showed that health institutions accounted for 16% of all clusters and extended families accounted for 14%.

Prisons and public transport, including trains and planes, accounted for only one percent of clusters and schools and universities only 4%.

"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," Eric Caumes, head of infectious diseases at Paris hospital La Pitié-Salpêtrière, said on Franceinfo radio.

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Where possible, companies should continue to ask their staff to work from home, he said.

"Teleworking is reasonable," he said. "It is important to prevent infection between colleagues."

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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