Mask duty


New rules have been introduced in Germany, making it mandatory for people to wear some kind of face mask on public transport. In some states, people must wear them to enter shops too, and penalties for flouting the Maskenpflicht (“mask duty”) also vary regionally. Fines range from s25 to s10,000, but in Berlin, officials say they’ll not be levying fines. Germany has a far lower Covid-19 death toll than other western European countries, but its epidemiologists say that its crucial R number (the number of people infected by each infected person) has crept back up to 0.96 from 0.7, owing to the recent relaxation of lockdown restrictions. Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that the country remains “on the thinnest ice”. Elsewhere in Europe, Greece, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic were among the countries to ease restrictions this week. In Norway, primary schools reopened, with physical distancing in place and maximum class sizes of 15. Primary schools in France are due to reopen on 11 May. In Spain, children were allowed out of their homes for supervised exercise for the first time in six weeks.