Italy makes face masks mandatory as coronavirus cases surge

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Italy on Wednesday made it mandatory to wear face masks outdoors, aiming to prevent a second wave of the coronavirus.

The decision comes as new infections jumped to the highest daily tally since April.

Several Italian regions had already made face masks mandatory. On Wednesday, the cabinet also approved a decree to extend the COVID-19 state of emergency to January 31.

On Tuesday, authorities reported 3,678 cases in the last 24 hours. Health minister Roberto Speranza ordered compulsory testing on travellers from the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

Italy has the second highest COVID death toll in Europe after Britain, with 36,061 deaths since the outbreak flared in February, according to official data. However, it is recording far fewer daily cases than other large European countries.