June 9, 2020 / 11:53 AM / a month ago

Spain makes masks mandatory until coronavirus defeated

MADRID (Reuters) - Wearing masks in public will remain mandatory in Spain after the country’s state of emergency ends on June 21 until a cure or vaccine for the coronavirus is found, Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Tuesday.

Spaniards must continue to wear masks indoors and outdoors if they cannot guarantee a 1.5 metre distance from other people as part of a decree to govern conditions after the lockdown is lifted, Illa told a news conference.

The obligation to wear masks will remain until “we definitively defeat the virus, which will be when we have an efficient therapy or an effective vaccine,” Illa said.

Three weeks ago, Spain made masks mandatory in all public spaces where adequate social distancing cannot be maintained. The rule applies to everybody over the age of six.

Severely hit by the coronavirus epidemic, the country’s government imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdown in mid March.

As the number of new contagions and fatalities has fallen steeply, the government has gradually eased restrictions.

Most restrictions on movement will be lifted on June 21 when the state of emergency ends, but the government wants to maintain regulations to prevent new outbreaks of the virus.

Reporting by Nathan Allen; Editing by Inti Landauro and Ed Osmond

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