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Italy considers mask mandate for outdoors

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray and hold the four items used as a symbol on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, as they keep social distancing and separated by plastic partitions during the current nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem, today.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Ultra-Orthodox Jews pray and hold the four items used as a symbol on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, as they keep social distancing and separated by plastic partitions during the current nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem, today.

ROME >> The Italian government is weighing whether to require masks outdoors nationwide amid a steady, nine-week increase in coronavirus infections.

Already several individual regions have imposed outdoor mask mandates in a bid to curb the rebound in infections. On Sunday, Italy added another 2,578 confirmed cases, far fewer new daily infections than in neighboring France or Spain, but cause for concern in the onetime European epicenter of the pandemic.

Another 18 people died, bringing Italy’s toll to 35,986, the second highest in Europe after Britain.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza told RAI 3 television a national outdoor mask mandate was being considered by the government in a bid to keep infections from spiraling out of control now that schools have reopened. There have been 900 cases tied to schools, and 14 school-based clusters in the last week alone. But health authorities said in their weekly monitoring report that it will still be some time before they know the full effect of schools reopening on the infection curve.

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