Spain's Catalonia region makes masks obligatory everywhere

Reuters Madrid, Spain Jul 08, 2020, 03.24 PM(IST)

Coronavirus in Catalonia Photograph:( Reuters )

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Torra said the measure would come into force on Thursday

Catalonia's regional authorities will on Wednesday decide to make it mandatory to wear masks regardless of people's ability to maintain a safe distance, becoming Spain's first region to do so, Catalan regional leader Quim Torra said.

Torra said the measure would come into force on Thursday.

Wearing masks indoors and outdoors is mandatory in Spain if people cannot guarantee a 1.5 metre distance from one another until a cure or vaccine for the coronavirus is found.

Also read: Regional officers in Catalonia want 'toughened' mask wearing rules

Around 200,000 people in Lerida, west of Barcelona were placed under strict lockdown on Saturday after over 1,000 cases of COVID-19 were detected since early June. They have reported 64 new cases in the last 24-hours. 

Wearing masks is already compulsory in Spain if people are unable to avoid being closer than 1.5 metres while commuting through public transport. 

"We want to make wearing masks obligatory at all times," regional government spokeswoman Meritxell Budo said by way of clarification.

"We have noticed some easing up in the use of masks" so a tighter measure might be called for, she explained.

Fernando Simon, the chief Spanish epidemiologist, said on Monday that he was "very concerned" of the outbreak in Catalonia.