ITALY has made it mandatory to wear face masks outdoors nationwide, the health ministry said today.
The new restriction, implemented across the country, is the strictest coronavirus-related law in the world.
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The cabinet also approved a decree to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency to January 31, a cabinet source told Reuters.
Speaking to parliament today, health minister Roberto Speranza said: “We have to make an extra effort because masks must be used in any situation where there is a chance of people meeting who do not live together.”
The vote in parliament on the new measures was delayed after 41 MPs were in self-isolation after being exposed to colleagues who had tested positive for the virus.
According to the Times, the decree will force everyone to wear a mask outside when they are likely to come into contact with people from another household.
Exceptions will be made for children under the age of six, those suffering from health conditions and for those doing sports.
The highest daily infection cases were about 6,500 cases a day recorded in late March.
However, the number of infections is still far below the numbers seen in other European countries such as France, Spain and Britain.
Italy was one of the first countries in Europe to become seriously affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the north of Italy, hospitals became overwhelmed and army lorries were drafted to remove corpses from overflowing morgues in Bergamo.
Over 32,000 coronavirus cases from 99 countries were identified between December 31 2019 and March 10 – the day before the World Health Organization declared the virus as a global pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected the data using websites, press releases, press briefing transcripts and social media feeds belonging to government health departments and other agencies.
“Our findings suggest that travel from just a few countries with substantial Sars-CoV-2 transmission may have seeded additional outbreaks around the world before the characterisation of Covid-19,” said co-author Dr Fatimah Darwood.