Masks to be mandatory in Spain until coronavirus is defeated, health minister says

Masks to be mandatory in Spain until coronavirus is defeated, health minister says
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Wearing a mask in public will be mandatory in Spain until there is a widely available cure or a vaccine for the coronavirus, Health Minister Salvador Illa announced Tuesday. 

Illa said at a press conference that wearing masks and other hygienic measures in public places will "remain in place until we permanently defeat the virus, which is when we have an effective treatment or vaccine against it.”

Illa released a list of measures that will remain in place as the country moves toward a “new normal” as its state of emergency expires on June 21. The rule applies in closed public spaces where a 1.5-meter safe distance cannot be maintained, and includes a fine of about $113 for those who do not comply.

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“In the new normality there is no central control,” said Illa, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais. “Regions in Phase 3 already have the power to lift the state of alarm when they consider it opportune.”

Spanish officials announced last month that they will begin reopening the country to international tourists in July, ending a mandatory two-week quarantine policy for incoming travelers.

Spain has confirmed the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe, with 241,966 cases and 27,136 deaths recorded as of Tuesday, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.