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Masks Off In Europe As Roberta Metsola Announces End To Most COVID-19 Rules At European Parliament

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European Parliament President Roberta Metsola has decided to end mandatory masking at its Strasbourg headquarters, effective of this week.

Several other COVID-19 rules, including thermal scanners and social distancing floor signs, have also been removed, and events can start being held at Parliament again.

However, a PCR testing centre for MEPs and staff has remained in place, with people who test positive for COVID-19 or were in known contact with a positive case required to follow Parliament’s guidelines on testing, isolation and quarantine.

In a statement, the Maltese politician noted that several EU member states have lifted public health measures to limit the spread of the virus, including the obligation to wear a mask in most indoor public places.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control also updated its mask-wearing advice, now recommending its usage for  “confined public spaces”.

Metsola said her decision is being taken in line with advice issued by the European Parliament’s Medical Preparedness and Crisis Management Unit, which is calling for mask-wearing “to shift from a collective measure and obligation towards a more individual measure and recommendation”.

“Consequently, the general obligation to wear a medical face mask while in Parliament’s buildings should be lifted, even if mask-wearing is still advisable when inside Parliament’s buildings in particular in situations where social distancing cannot be guaranteed or when parliament’s cars and buses are shared,” she said. 

Malta also removed mask-wearing obligations from most indoor places, except for hospitals, care homes and flights, this week, and Health Minister Chris Fearne has even claimed that the “pandemic is over”.

This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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