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Spain follows France in lifting outdoor face mask rules

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By Euronews with AFP
People wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19 perform a traditional Catalan dance in Barcelona, Spain, on June 5, 2021.
People wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19 perform a traditional Catalan dance in Barcelona, Spain, on June 5, 2021.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
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Wearing a mask outdoors in Spain will no longer be mandatory from June 26 due to the improving COVID-19 situation, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Friday.

"This weekend will be the last one with masks outside because on 26 June we will no longer wear masks in public spaces" in the open air, Sanchez said during a visit to Barcelona.

The obligation to wear a mask outdoors while in public came into force in May 2020 and applied to everyone over the age of 6. The lifting of the restriction is to be formally adopted at an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Thursday.

It follows France, which also lifted its outdoor mask-wearing requirement earlier this week.

Spanish authorities reported 1,801 new infections on Thursday — a number not observed since mid-July 2020. According to the Health Ministry, the 14-day incidence rate currently stands at 82 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

The country, which has reported more than 3.7 million cases and over 80,000 deaths, is one of the most impacted in the European Union.

It has so far fully vaccinated 28.7% of its population, while 47.1% have received at least one dose.