Mask Regulations Tightened in Europe Amid the COVID-19 Wave

  • Share

To wear or not to wear a mask was a question that was immediately answered at the start of the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy. Now, the country that was once the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe hopes that stricter regulations on mask use can help Italy cope with the latest wave of infections there.

While other countries took similar measures, a much more contagious but less virulent variety of omicron spread across the continent.

As intensive care rooms in Italian hospitals are rapidly filling with patients, most of whom have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, the government has announced on Christmas Eve that FFP2 masks should be used, which offer more protection than cloth or surgical masks. transportation. public transport, including planes, trains, ferries and subways.

This decision was taken even though as of this week all passengers in Italy have been vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19. The FFP2 must now be worn indoors or outdoors, in theatres, cinemas and sporting events and should not be turned on even when the user is about to eat or drink.

Italy has reintroduced the obligation to wear masks outdoors. The country has never lifted the requirement to wear masks indoors, even though infections fell sharply last summer.

Nuns wearing FFP2 masks listen to Pope Francis at his weekly plenary session in Paul VI Hall, Vatican, January 5, 2022.

On a cold morning in Rome this week, 84-year-old Lillo D’Amico was seen wearing a wool cap and a white FFP2 mask while buying newspapers from a kiosk near his home.

“Masks cost little, they allow you to make small sacrifices,” he said. “If you do the math, it’s a lot less than being hospitalized.”

He walked away when he saw a small group of people without a mask pass by. “They see the masks as an insult to their freedom,” said D’Amico, shrugging.

Spain has reinstated the rules for wearing masks outside on Christmas Eve. After the 14-day contagion rate of 40 per 100,000 people in mid-October rose to 2,722 new infections per 100,000 people over the weekend, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was asked if mandatory outdoor masks had helped.

“Of course. I didn’t say it. Science itself shows it because the virus is transmitted when a person exhales,” said Sanchez.

People wear FFP2 masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic in front of a mural depicting Santa Claus in Madrid, Spain, January 12, 2022.

People wear FFP2 masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic in front of a mural depicting Santa Claus in Madrid, Spain, January 12, 2022.

Portugal also made mask-wearing mandatory again at the end of November, largely removing the requirement once 86 percent of its population has met its target of vaccination.

Greece also reinstated the requirement for a double surgical mask or FFP2 indoors on public transport and in public places, while also reinstating the outdoor mask requirement.

This week, the Dutch government’s epidemic response team recommended mandatory masks for people aged 13 and over for spectators in busy public places such as restaurants, museums and theaters and indoor sporting events. These places are currently closed under circumstances quarantine Valid until Friday, January 14 at least.

A queue of students wearing masks before entering the Luis Cheerleading school after the Christmas holidays in Pamplona, ​​northern Spain, January 10, 2022.

A queue of students wearing masks before entering the Luis Cheerleading school after the Christmas holidays in Pamplona, ​​northern Spain, January 10, 2022.

The requirement to wear masks outdoors in France was partially reinstated in several cities, including Paris, last December. The age at which children start wearing masks in public has been reduced from 11 to 6.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer announced last week that citizens must wear FFP2 masks outdoors if they cannot maintain a distance of at least 2 meters.

In Italy, more than 2 million people in a country of 60 million confirmed positive for the virus and absenteeism limiting train and bus operations, the government is also seeing masks as a way to make society more fully functional.

People who have had injections amplifier or if a second dose recently taken hits the FFP2 mask on an infected person for 10 days, one can avoid quarantine after exposure.

The government has ordered shops to supply FFP masks for 85 cents (approximately Rp 12,000). In the first year of the pandemic, the price of FFP2 rose to $11.5 (over Rp 164,000) even with masks available.

FFP2 masks, surgical masks and hydroalcoholic gel in France, 5 March 2020. (Illustration/REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

FFP2 masks, surgical masks and hydroalcoholic gel in France, 5 March 2020. (Illustration/REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

Italians talk about masks of various colors. The father of a baby baptized by Pope Francis in the Sistine Chapel this week slammed a burgundy mask, tie, and handkerchief in the pocket of a matching jacket. However, it is seen that the Pope, who almost never wears a mask in public, still wears a mask.

Monday (10/1), the Vatican mandated the use of FFP2 masks throughout the room. This tiny independent state in the heart of Rome requires Vatican employees to be able to go to work without quarantine after being exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID, in addition to being fully vaccinated or getting an injection. boosters, They put FFP2.

Pope Francis then wears an FFP2 as he exits a music store near the Pantheon before heading back to the Vatican. His appearance surprised shoppers in Rome on Tuesday morning.

People wear masks while shopping at a market in Saint Jean de Luz, southwest France, Friday, January 14, 2022.

People wear masks while shopping at a market in Saint Jean de Luz, southwest France, Friday, January 14, 2022.

The use of masks outdoors has never been mandatory in the UK, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson focused on vaccines.

But this month, the government said high school students must wear masks in class. Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the regulation would not go into effect “for one day longer than necessary”.

Mask use fell sharply when the UK government changed the use of masks from a necessity to a recommendation by lifting restrictions related to the pandemic in July 2021.

Masked pedestrians walk through a telephone booth in Uxbridge, London, Monday, January 10, 2022.  (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Masked pedestrians walk through a telephone booth in Uxbridge, London, Monday, January 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Nino Cartabellotta, head of the Bologna-based GIMBE foundation, which monitors health services in Italy, said the UK showed what could happen when regulations on mask use are not followed.

“The situation in the UK shows that vaccination alone is not enough to contain the pandemic,” Cartabellotta said in a video interview, despite the UK being one of the first countries to introduce the vaccine. [uh/ab]

  • Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *