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Health

Serbia orders mandatory mask-wearing as coronavirus cases rise

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BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia ordered mandatory wearing of masks at all times outside the home and introduced other measures on Friday to deal with the spread of coronavirus, a health official said.

Municipalities will be ordered to ban public gatherings and a sports arena in Belgrade will be prepared by next Monday to accommodate an anticipated inflow of patients with milder COVID-19 symptoms, said Darija Kisic Tepavcevic, a member of the government’s crisis staff.

“Masks must be worn by everyone, everywhere, including outdoors, ... this is mandatory,” Kisic Tepavcevic said.

Kisic Tepavcevic said the situation in Serbia was more favourable than the rest of Europe, but added, “that should not comfort us, because the virus has a great potential for rapid spreading”.

Serbia has so far reported 35,454 cases and 770 fatalities, with 203 new cases reported on Thursday.

Authorities say the incidence of the disease is steadily increasing due to colder weather when more people stay indoors.

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Frances Kerry

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