THE Spanish government will lift the requirement for people to wear masks outdoors, Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Friday in an unexpected U-turn.

The measure was extended earlier this week after being reinstated in late December to curb the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The lifting of the requirement is set to be approved in the weekly cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday and will come into force from Thursday February 10, Darias told La SER radio station.

The government “always said it would last only while it was strictly necessary,” she said.

Spain’s COVID-19’s contagion rate has dropped significantly over the last two weeks.

The latest data showed the 14-day rate at 2,421 cases per 100,000  down from almost 3,400 in early January.

Facemasks will still be compulsory in indoor public spaces and outdoors in crowds when social distancing of 1.5metres between people cannot be guaranteed.

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