Italy to scrap face masks from end of June

Face masks will no longer be compulsory in Italy, one of the countries in Europe worst hit by the virus, from June 28, the health ministry said.

The lifting of the mask requirement would come into effect in regions labelled “white” under Italy’s classification system for how rapidly the virus is spreading, Health Minister Roberto Speranza wrote on Facebook.

This includes all Italian regions except the tiny Aosta Valley in the far northwest.

Speranza’s announcement came on advice from Italy’s Comitato Tecnico Scientifico (CTS) scientific advisory panel, which said people should still have masks at hand for events with higher risk of spreading the virus like large gatherings.

By June 28, experts predict all of Italy will be classified a “white” zone.

The country has recorded 127,291 deaths since the pandemic reached it in early 2020, with 4.25 million infections.

So far 30 percent of people over 12 have been vaccinated, or around 16 million out of a population of 60 million.

More than 46 million vaccine doses have been administered in Italy.