French Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau wants the public to stay calm over bedbugs in Paris.
In an interview with France Inter on Tuesday, Rousseau reassured citizens that there is “no reason for a general panic” and that France has not been “invaded by bedbugs.”
The tiny insects have been spotted on public transport in the French capital over the past few weeks, raising alarm among residents and public officials.
Last week, Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Grégoire asked the government to take action to fight the “scourge” of bedbugs ahead of the 2024 Olympics, set to take place in the city next summer and bring a huge influx of tourists.
Despite inviting the public to relax, Rousseau did add Tuesday that “when you have bedbugs, it’s hell.”
In recent weeks, videos of bedbugs in trains and on the Paris metro have circulated on the internet. According to French news, bedbugs disappeared from France around 1950 before making a comeback in the 1990s due to increased international travel.
France might not be the only country set for a bedbug battle: Belgian pest-control companies have reported a spike in calls about infestations in recent months.