Covid-19: Italy considers making masks compulsory outdoors

Masks become obligatory outdoors in Rome and Lazio region from today amid rise in covid-19 cases.

The obligation to wear face masks outdoors throughout Italy will be "evaluated," Italian premier Giuseppe Conte said on 2 October, reports news agency ANSA.

Conte, speaking on the margins of an EU summit, said: "We are in constant contact with the health ministry and the scientific technical committee. At the moment we have not approved any measures in this direction."

The premier's remarks follow an order from the Lazio region, which includes Rome, making the wearing of masks compulsory outdoors as well as indoors in public places, at all times, amid a spike in new covid-19 cases.

The move takes effect across Lazio today, Saturday 3 October, with fines of up to €400 for those who fail to comply with the new rules.

The measure applies 24 hours a day to everyone except children under the age of six, those with disabilities preventing them from wearing masks, and those taking exercise.

Lazio is the latest Italian region to make masks obligatory outdoors, following Campania, Calabria, and Sicily as well as some Italian cities including Foggia and the historic centre of Genoa.

The daily number of new coronavirus cases in Italy remained high for a second consecutive day on Friday 2 October, reports ANSA, with 2,499 cases recorded over the previous 24 hours compared to 2,548 the day before.

However the number of swabs taken also set a new record for Italy, with 120,301 tests - around 2,000 more than on 1 October - according to the Italian health ministry.

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