Covid-19 Mandatory Masks

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany: Bavaria introduces mandatory FFP2 masks in public transport and supermarkets
FFP2 Mask
FFP2 Mask Credit: Christoph Janke for Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

In Bavaria, from next Monday onwards, there will be an obligation to wear FFP2 masks in public transport and in retail. This was decided by the cabinet on Tuesday in Munich, as Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) said.

Söder said the "normal community masks" are in the Corona pandemic to protect others. FFP2 masks also protect the wearer himself. The goal, he said, is to improve safety in public transportation and commerce.

"Availability in trade is sufficiently guaranteed, so there is no shortage of FFP2," the prime minister stressed.

Climate & Environment
1.56b single-use face masks estimated to have entered oceans in 2020
1.56b single-use face masks estimated to have entered oceans in 2020
Credit: unsplash.com/Brian Yurasits

A study conducted by OceansAsia estimates that 1.56 billion of around 52 billion manufactured face masks in 2020 will have entered oceans this year, resulting in an additional 4,680 to 6,240 metric tonnes of marine plastic pollution.

“The 1.56 billion face masks that will likely enter our oceans in 2020 are just the tip of the iceberg,” says Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff, Director of Research for OceansAsia, and lead author of the report. “The 4,680 to 6,240 metric tonnes of face masks are just a small fraction of the estimated 8 to 12 million metric tonnes of plastic that enter our oceans each year.”

Law
German data protectionists warn against surveillance systems
German data protectionists warn against surveillance systems
Credit: unsplash.com / Michał Jakubowski

German privacy advocates warn against the creeping use of surveillance systems to identify people. Not only in retail but also in football stadiums, developers are already experimenting with automatic systems for recognizing the implementation of the mask-wearing requirement and for temperature measurement.

These systems could potentially encourage a faster return to "everyday life", but at the same time, there are doubts about the actual implementation due to the General Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO). The data collected here can fall under the so-called health data, which are subject to special protection. In the case of sensitive data of this kind, the person concerned would also need to have given their explicit consent; implicit consent to purchase the tickets would not be sufficient.

Regional News • Americas • United States
CDC recommends "universal use of face masks" while indoors
CDC recommends "universal use of face masks" while indoors
Credit: Unsplash/Arturo Rey

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday recommended the "universal use of face masks" while in indoor places other than one's home to curb the spread of Covid-19. The agency also urges people to avoid "non-essential indoor spaces" and to postpone travel.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Covid: President-elect Joe Biden to ask Americans to wear masks for 100 days
President-elect Joe Biden
President-elect Joe Biden Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The US President-elect Joe Biden has said he will ask Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days in office to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

Constitutional experts say a US president has no legal authority to order Americans to wear masks. Still, Mr Biden said during the interview he and his Vice-President Kamala Harris would set an example by donning face coverings.

Regional News • Asia • Japan
Japanese government announces that taxis in Tokyo can refuse passengers without masks
Japanese government announces that taxis in Tokyo can refuse passengers without masks
Credit: unsplash.com / Josh Wilburne

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) has approved a new regulation for taxi operators, which states that they can refuse passengers who are not wearing masks. Drivers are required to ask customers why they do not wear masks when they board and check to see if there are any unavoidable circumstances, such as illness. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism explains the reason for the approval, saying, "This is not only for the driver but also to prevent the next passenger from becoming infected".

Regional News • Europe • France
Compulsory masks for schoolchildren aged 6 and over in France
Compulsory masks for schoolchildren aged 6 and over in France
Credit: unsplash.com / Kelly Sikkema

France makes masks mandatory in class for schoolchildren aged six and over, PM Castex said. Up until now, masks were only mandatory for children aged 11 and older.

"From Monday, when children return to school, the sanitary protocol will be made stricter. The requirement to wear a face mask will be extended to primary school children over the age of six."

Science • Medicine
Berlin: 470 fines against mask grouches
Berlin: 470 fines against mask grouches
Credit: BVG

Between the beginning of July and the beginning of September, the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) imposed only 470 contractual penalties for violating the mouth and nose covering. This emerges from a request to the Berlin Senate from an AfD MP. If the acceptance was 70% at peak times, according to the BVG, around 95% of passengers would now adhere to the Corona regulations.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Face Coverings Mandatory in Secondary Schools in Local Lockdown Areas
Face Coverings Mandatory in Secondary Schools in Local Lockdown Areas
Credit: unsplas.com/NeONBRAND

Pupils of secondary schools in regions of England that are under local lockdown are now required to wear face coverings in schools, a U-turn on previous guidance. In those areas that are no affected by local lockdown restrictions, headteachers can decide whether masks need to be worn.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the decision was "the most precautionary approach" based on "the latest medical and scientific advice".

Tory MPs voiced criticism, saying mask would send "the wrong message" that "schools are not a safe setting".

Regional News • Europe
Italy closes nightclubs again and makes face masks in public places mandatory during night
Italy closes nightclubs again and makes face masks in public places mandatory during night
Credit: unsplash.com / Gabriella Clare Marino

As Italy reports an increasing number in Covid-19 cases masks will be mandatory in public spaces where social distancing is not possible, but only between 6 pm and 6 am. In addition, nightclubs will be closed including outside venues where people dance.

Italy has reported 479 new Covid-19 cases and four deaths and according to reports several new cases have been linked to night clubs. The Italian government has stated that they'll provide economic support to all venues that have been ordered to close.

Health
Report: Masks recommended for students in schools by Swedish researchers
Report: Masks recommended for students in schools by Swedish researchers
Credit: unsplash.com / Rusty Watson

Based on data from South Korea, the United States and Israel analyzing the infections and spread of the coronavirus through children, researchers now believe that children can contract Covid-19 and easily spread it.

A group of 26 researchers from Sweden wrote that "Because children are contagious, can become seriously ill, and it is unclear today how a mild infection affects their future health, we should already at the start of school take measures to keep the infection down".

They recommend sport only outdoors, eating meals seperated in classes, avoiding group tasks and that masks should be worn at all times.

Science • Medicine
Munich public transport company states 90% of passengers wear mask
Munich public transport company states 90% of passengers wear mask
Credit: unsplash.com / Dominik Martin

The head of corporate security at the Munich Transport Company (MVG) commented in an interview with "Die Zeit" about mouth and nose covering and passenger acceptance. Around 90% of these would adhere to the regulations and the MVG would have achieved the desired effect. The effort to achieve 100% acceptance would be too high, especially with possible limited success.

He sees the imposition of fines and fines critically and as a state task.

Regional News • Africa
Malawi: Masks now mandatory in public places

Malawi has made masks mandatory in public places starting Friday night. Violations will be fined $15. Activists are urging the government to provide free masks. The government has also closed all shops located near hospitals and forbid public gatherings. Malawi has around 100 confirmed daily cases.

Science • Medicine
Berlin: 30,000 passengers without face mask in public transportation
Berlin: 30,000 passengers without face mask in public transportation
Credit: unsplash.com/Soroush Karimi

After about a month into the enforcement of the mandated mask requirement, the Berlin Transport Authority (BVG) has counted 30,000 passengers who were travelling without a mask. In just 200 cases, contractual penalties of €50 were imposed and in 80 cases there were violent attacks on security personnel.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany: Officials 'very concerned' by rising numbers of Covid-19 cases
Prof. Dr. Lothar Wieler
Prof. Dr. Lothar Wieler Credit: YouTube (Reproduction)

Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute has said that negligence is to blame for an increase in cases. Over the last seven days, Germany has registered a daily average of 557 cases, compared to around 350 in early June. The number of new infections nearly doubled to 633 on Tuesday, up from 340 on Monday.

Tuesday, during his first press conference in weeks, Wieler said: "The rise has to do with the fact that we have become negligent.". He also asked people for the first time to wear a mask outdoors if they cannot maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Arkansas US senator tested positive for Covid-19 after sharing article that describes virus as "hoax"
Arkansas US senator tested positive for Covid-19 after sharing article that describes virus as "hoax"
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

The Republican senator for Arkansas Jason Rapert has contracted Covid-19 and has been hospitalised with pneumonia on July 24th.

While he previously shared an article on Facebook that has called the Covid-19 pandemic the "biggest political hoax in history" and criticised the mandatory mask order of the Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson. He described the order "an overreach of executive power without consultation with the members of the Arkansas legislature".

After being hospitalised, he then released a statement saying that "we have all been doing our best to wear a mask, social distance and be careful like everyone else. This virus is serious and can attack anyone regardless of age or general health".

Health
Swiss government says plastic face shields are inadequate protection
Swiss government says plastic face shields are inadequate protection
Credit: unsplash.com/engin akyurt

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health warns of the usage of plastic face shields – or visors – over face masks. A spokesperson said that "the visors do not serve as an alternative to hygiene masks. Visors can be worn with masks to further enhance your own protection." Health officials recommend wearing a visor in tandem with a face mask.

After an outbreak in a hotel in the canton of Graubünden, health officials found that all those who wore plastic face shields were infected with the novel Coronavirus while those who wore face masks were not.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Delta Airlines CEO states that over 100 passengers have been banned over mask requirement
Delta Airlines CEO states that over 100 passengers have been banned over mask requirement
Credit: Delta News Hub (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The CEO of Delta Airlines ED Bastian has stated in an interview with NBC News that as Covid-19 measures all planes are getting sanitized, booked to only 60 percent of their capacity and all passengers and employees are required to wear masks on the planes at all times.

He also stated that over 100 people have been banned from flying over refusing to wear a mask. People that claim to have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask are required to talk to a Doctor from the University of Pittsburg Medical Center in order to assess if the condition indeed prevents passengers from wearing a mask on the airplane.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Donald Trump changes standpoint regarding masks, recommends wearing them
Donald Trump changes standpoint regarding masks, recommends wearing them
Credit: Twitter (Reproduction)

United States President Donald Trump has changed his standpoint regarding facial masks. In his first Covid-19 press briefing in months, he encouraged the public to wear masks in public spaces where social distancing is not possible to slow down the spread of Covid-19.

He also said that the pandemic "will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better".

Health
Austria reinstates mandatory masks in grocery stores, banks and post offices
Austria retailer Interspar
Austria retailer Interspar Credit: Herzi Pinki / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Starting Friday, masks and face coverings will be mandatory in Austrian supermarkets, banks and post offices amid rising Covid-19 cases. The mandate had been lifted in mid-June for most public indoor places except in public transport, medical facilities and small spaces such as hair salons.

The country has reported between 80-130 daily cases for the past week, its highest numbers since mid-April.