Mandatory Face Mask Rules Spread Across Europe Amid Uptick in Coronavirus Cases

(ROME) — New rules on wearing masks in England came into effect Friday, with people going to shops, banks and supermarkets now required to wear face coverings. The move came a day after Belgium imposed its own mask requirement to slow increasing coronavirus infections.

Those in England can be fined as much as 100 pounds ($127) by police if they refuse. The British government had given mixed signals for weeks before deciding on the policy. Venues like restaurants, pubs, gyms and hairdressers are exempt.

John Apter, the national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, says officers will be available as a last resort but that he hopes the public “will continue to do the right thing” to protect other citizens.

In Belgium, health authorities said a three-year old girl has died after testing positive for COVID-19 as new infections surged 89% from the previous week.

On Thursday, Belgian authorities beefed up restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus, including making masks mandatory in crowded outdoor public spaces. A country of 11.5 million, Belgium has been hard hit by the pandemic with 64,847 cases and 9,812 deaths recorded so far.

In Italy, the number of daily new infections reported Thursday jumped to over 300, the first time they had surpassed more than 300 since mid-June. Most of the new cases have occurred in northern Italy, where the outbreak in Europe began in February. But southern regions, relatively spared from the worst of the pandemic, have lately been seeing clusters of infections.

Many recent cases have been traced to people returning from abroad, most of them foreign workers from Asia, Eastern Europe or the Balkans. Other clusters were among migrants rescued at sea and southern Italy.

But there have also been clusters sparked among vacationers, including in Riccione, a beach resort town on the Adriatic Sea, …read more

Source:: Time – World


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