Coronavirus: German States Make Face Masks Compulsory

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A weekly market in Halle which has made face masks mandatory, on Tuesday, April 14th. Photo: DPA

All of Germany’s states have announced plans to make face masks compulsory to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Bremen became the final federal region to back the measures, with its senate set to confirm the decision on Friday.

Mask use will be compulsory on public transport throughout Germany, and nearly all states will also make face coverings mandatory when shopping.

Chancellor Angela Merkel strongly recommended their use last week when she eased lockdown rules nationwide.

Different countries have issued different guidance on the use of face masks.

Austria made them compulsory when shopping at the start of this month, but on Wednesday Switzerland confirmed it would not make its citizens wear masks as it loosened its restrictions.

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has confirmed 145,694 cases and recorded 4,879 deaths in total.

Wednesday’s data showed a second consecutive day that new infections rose, with 281 deaths compared with 194 reported on Tuesday. Johns Hopkins University in the US puts the number of German deaths at 5,117.

Germany’s federal vaccines institute approved clinical trials for a possible vaccine involving humans on Wednesday. About 200 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 55 will be tested with variants of the drug, developed by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German company BioNTech.

Scientists at the University of Oxford are set to start trials on humans on Thursday, the UK government says. Separate trials are also taking place in the US city of Seattle.

Source: BBC

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