Face masks to be made compulsory across Germany in fight against coronavirus

Face masks to be made compulsory across Germany in fight against coronavirus
People wearing face masks in Erfurt, Thuringia on Wednesday. Photo: DPA
People all over Germany must be prepared to wear face masks in the fight against the coronavirus spread after all 16 states opted to make it mandatory on public transport.

Residents in Germany, which has a population of around 83 million people, will have to wear a covering over their face and mouth while travelling on buses, trains and trams – and in some states while in shops.

Bremen on Wednesday became the last of the country's 16 states to announce that it will make it mandatory to wear a face mask.

Residents there will have to cover their mouth and nose on public transport and while shopping, starting on Monday April 27th.

Other state governments announced similar steps on Wednesday. North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, and Brandenburg will also make masks mandatory from Monday.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had already decided to make masks mandatory on public transport from Monday, and is now extending this to shops, the state government decided on Wednesday.

Following announcements from states earlier in the week including Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg and Hesse, Berlin mayor Michael Müller said on Tuesday that “to be able to protect people” in trains, buses and trams, his city government intended to make “protection of the nose and mouth compulsory from April 27th”.

In Berlin it's not mandatory to wear a face covering while out shopping, but it is strongly recommended.

Across Germany, it is understood that all types of masks are allowed, including homemade ones. Other types of face coverings such as scarves are also acceptable as long as they cover the nose and mouth.

The German government last week strongly recommended that people wear masks over their mouth and nose in shops and on public transport to help contain the coronavirus spread.

But states have been making their own decisions on whether it should be a requirement or not.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about plans for Germany's states to ease lockdown

Saxony was the first federal state to make masks compulsory. Residents there now have to wear masks while shopping and in public transport.

READ ALSO: Bavaria makes face masks compulsory in bid to control coronavirus spread

With more than 147,000 confirmed cases and 5,200 deaths as of Wednesday April 22nd, Germany has been one of the countries worst hit by Covid-19, but also one of the quickest to react.

A total of 95,200 of the total confirmed cases are reported to have recovered from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.


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