The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had, earlier last week, released new guidelines suggesting that 70 percent of Americans no longer needed to wear masks and needn't avoid crowded spaces.
Instead of heavily relying on the number of COVID-19 cases to gauge mask effectiveness, the CDC is assessing local hospital capacity and rate of hospitalisation to formulate key measures in the USA.
What are the CDC guidelines? Which other countries have lifted the mask mandate? Here is a list.
USA: CDC Guidelines
The following are the CDC guidelines in the USA for areas of:
No need for masks (wear at preference)
Wear if symptoms start to show
Masks for immunocompromised people
Wear if in contact with someone at high risk for severe illness
Masks required indoors and in public places
Wear regardless of vaccination status
Almost 70 percent of the population in the USA are in areas of low or medium risk.
Denmark became the first European country to lift the mask mandate.
This is in view of:
Denmark's high rate of vaccination
Authorities claiming that the virus is no longer considered a 'critical threat'
England has lifted the legal mandate on face coverings.
However, the government has suggested that face coverings be worn in:
France has stated that face masks would no longer be compulsory in public places that require vaccination passes.
However, masks must be worn at indoor places and public transport, where a vaccination pass is not needed.
"The wearing of masks indoors will be maintained in transport and enclosed places not subject to the vaccination pass. In other enclosed places subject to the vaccination pass, wearing a mask will no longer be mandatory."French Health Ministry
In Italy, face masks are no longer required in public places.
Nevertheless, face masks should still be worn in:
All indoor public places
Busy outdoor areas
As the number of COVID-19 infections in Spain continues to decline, the country recently removed the mandate for wearing masks in outdoor settings.
Masks are still necessary for:
Places where social distancing is not followed
Wearing face covers in open spaces is no longer a mandate in UAE. The National Authority for Emergency, Crisis, and Disaster Management (NCEMA) has announced face covers to be optional.
Face masks must still be worn in closed spaces.
(Inputs from Times of India and NYT.)