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Mandatory masks becoming the rule amid Europe’s virus uptick

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Mandatory masks becoming the rule amid Europe's virus uptick

ROME (AP) — New rules on wearing masks in England came into effect Friday, with people entering shops, banks and supermarkets now required to wear face coverings, while Romania reported a record for daily infections and new cases nearly doubled in France. People in England can be fined as much as 100 pounds ($127) by police if they refuse. The British government had given mixed signals for weeks before deciding on the policy. Places like restaurants, pubs, gyms and hairdressers are exempt.

John Apter, the national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said officers would be available as a last resort but added that he hopes the public “will continue to do the right thing" to protect other citizens. In Belgium, health authorities said a three-year old girl has died after testing positive for COVID-19 as new infections surged 89% from the previous week.

Belgian authorities have bolstered up restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus, including making masks mandatory in crowded outdoor public spaces. Belgium has been hard hit by the pandemic, with 64,847 cases and 9,812 deaths registered so far.

Overall, Europe has seen over 201,000 deaths in the pandemic, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Experts say the true toll from the coronavirus worldwide is much higher, due to limited testing and other issues.

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Romania set an all-time high for daily new infections Friday and authorities blamed the surge on a failure to wear masks properly.

Many in Romania haven’t been wearing masks indoors or on public transport. A relaxing of measures also stripped authorities of the ability to quarantine or isolate the new cases or […]

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