Italy to lift mask requirement outdoors from next week

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Rome, June 22 (BNA): Italy will drop mask requirements outdoors in so-called white zones, where there is a low coronavirus risk, from next week, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Monday.

"From June 28 we are moving past the need to wear masks outdoors in white zones, though [this will be done] always in compliance with precautionary measures established by the CTS [scientific technical committee]," Speranza said in a Facebook post.

Currently, all Italian regions except the small Valle d'Aosta in the north-west of the country are in zones with the loosest coronavirus rules. It is expected that Valle d'Aosta will also be reclassified as a white zone from next Monday.

Italians will still have to wear masks indoors and on public transport as well as when it's not possible to social distance.

Newspaper La Repubblica reported that the current rule that diners in restaurants may only remove their masks when they are seated will remain in place.

The Italian government had initially promised to end mask requirements in mid-July, but on Monday health advisers gave the green light to relax restrictions from June 28, according to ANSA news agency, Deutsche press agency (dpa) reported.

Italy, with its 60 million inhabitants, registered 495 new infections within 24 hours on Monday, bringing the total caseload to 4.2 million as well as 21 new Covid-19-related deaths, for a total of nearly 128,000.