Italy mask-free from today

All of Italy became a mask-free, “low-risk” zone for coronavirus Monday, marking a dramatic milestone for the first European country to be hit by the global pandemic in February 2020, AFP reports.

In a decree that took effect Monday, the country’s health ministry for the first time classified each of Italy’s 20 regions as “white”, signifying low risk, under Italy’s colour-coded classification system that evaluates Covid-19 risk.

That means facemasks will no longer be compulsory in outdoor areas – welcome news across the country where an ongoing heatwave is expected to push temperatures past 40 degrees Celsius in some southern areas this week.

A third of Italy’s population over the age of 12 has been vaccinated as of Sunday, or 17,572,505 people, according to the government.

Long prohibited from entering the country, tourists from the European Union, Britain, the United States, Canada and Japan are now back after the government removed a quarantine requirement for vaccinated visitors, or those who test negative