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31 March 2020, 17:58

German city introduces face mask requirement amid coronavirus pandemic


BERLIN, 31 March (BelTA - Xinhua) - The eastern German city of Jena became the first in the country to make wearing a protective face mask mandatory in public areas, such as shops, on public transportation and in buildings with public access during the coronavirus pandemic, German media reported on Tuesday.

The new rule will enter into force next week.

Jena, located in the German state of Thuringia, has decided to "take further steps to protect the population," the city authorities said. As of Monday, Jena had recorded 119 confirmed coronavirus cases.

The city assured that it had a basic stock of masks to supply nurses, doctors, public transport drivers and other workers in jobs of systemically relevant infrastructure.

In order to supply the population with face masks, Jena encouraged citizens to sew their own mouth and nose protective masks.

Scarves or shawls will also be accepted as protection. However, "these must also cover the nose and mouth," the city noted. "Any mask is better than no mask at all."

On Monday, Bavaria officially extended its coronavirus-related measures until April 19. However, Minister President of Bavaria Markus Soeder noted that there was "no aggravation" of the measures.

"There are no plans" to introduce the mandatory wearing of face masks, Soeder told the German public broadcaster ARD on Tuesday. He said that the procurement of protective masks must be settled first.

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