Mask use spreads in Scandinavia after initial skepticism

By Anxo Lamela and Juanjo Galán

Copenhagen/Helsinki, Aug 12 (efe-epa).- An increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks has led some Nordic countries to make masks mandatory after initial skepticism over the effectiveness of face coverings to stop infections from spreading.

Iceland has imposed their use in some situations, Denmark recommends wearing them on public transport and Norway and Finland are expected to do the same in the coming days.

Only Sweden, which avoided a lockdown during the height of the pandemic, has been reluctant to recommend masks be worn, although it has not ruled out doing so in the future.

In the rest of Scandinavia, governments have deployed similar restrictions, shutting down public life at an early stage of the outbreak but not totally confining their population.

Few countries have controlled the contagion as well as Iceland, which deployed a mass testing, tracing and isolation plan which has resulted in a death rate of 2.83 per 100,000 inhabitants.

The appearance of new outbreaks at the end of July provoked a rapid response from authorities, with masks obligatory when a distance of two meters cannot be maintained.

Danish authorities have also recommended they are used on public transport at peak times after outbreaks began to multiply.

In Aarhus, the country’s second-largest city and where half of all its infections have been detected in recent days, it became obligatory to wear one on public transport from Wednesday.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has not ruled out rolling out this measure throughout the country.

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