World

Tragic end after bus driver refuses entry to those without masks

BAYONNE, FRANCE: A bus driver in France was declared brain dead yesterday after being attacked by people he refused to let aboard because they were not wearing masks as required during the coronavirus outbreak.

A police source in Bayonne, near the ritzy Atlantic resort of Biarritz, said one person was in custody and other suspects were being sought.

The individuals tried to board the bus on Sunday night without tickets or masks, which are mandatory on public transport across France. When the driver, in his 50s, tried to prevent their entry, he was repeatedly punched in an assault that resulted in serious head injury.

He was unconscious when taken to hospital, and doctors declared him brain dead on Monday, the police source said.

Regional bus services were disrupted yesterday after some of the driver's colleagues refused to work in protest against the brutal attack.

In a separate development, the Louvre reopened yesterday but with nearly a third of its galleries still shut.

It has lost more than 40 million euros (S$71 million) in ticket sales during the near-four-month lockdown, and director Jean-Luc Martinez admitted it could have a few more lean years ahead.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

Although most of the museum's most popular draws, like the Mona Lisa and its vast antiquities collection will be accessible, other galleries where social distancing is more difficult will remain closed.

Nor will there be any crowding in front of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, with visitors warned they will have to stick to standing on distanced spots marked on the floor.

Some 70 per cent of the Louvre's 9.6 million visitors last year were from overseas, and with tourism at a standstill, Mr Martinez said numbers could drop sharply.

The museum hopes to attract more French visitors. - AFP

WORLD