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Spain to drop obligatory use of masks outdoors

MADRID (AFP) – Spain will end the mandatory use of face masks outdoors on February 8, a minister said yesterday, ending a measure re-imposed in late December to tackle a surge in Omicron cases.

The measure will be approved at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Health Minister Carolina Darias told Cadena Ser radio.

Spain first imposed obligatory mask-wearing outdoors in May 2020, but lifted it in June last year, although wearing a face covering was still required for indoor public spaces.

“For several weeks now, we have seen how all the indicators are improving, day-by-day,” Darias said, referring to the incidence rate and pressure on hospitals.

In recent weeks, many of Spain’s regions have moved to ease restrictions that were tightened in the face of Omicron, with the northeastern Catalonia region dropping as ineffective the requirement to show a COVID passport to enter restaurants and gyms.

A man and woman are seen in front of a mural in Madrid. PHOTO: AP