In the light of the epidemiological situation and the declining workload in the health sector, the requirements for wearing masks and self-isolation will change from Monday, 4 April. A decision of the State Commander of National Emergency Operations will waive the mandatory requirement to wear masks indoors, with the exception of health, care and nursing facilities and public transport.
Although the wearing of masks will not be mandatory, it will still be recommended indoors where it is difficult to ensure safe distance, ventilation, or it is crowded. The use of masks in health, nursing and care facilities and in public transport remains mandatory.
Other countries are also changing the requirements for wearing masks. The same procedure for wearing masks, where masks are recommended in public places but remain mandatory in certain sectors, is already in place in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium and France, and from 1 April. will also apply in Latvia. Wearing of masks remains mandatory in Estonia, Greece, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Austria, Spain, Italy and other countries, and the wearing of masks is not required or only recommended in Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Ireland and Iceland.
It should be noted that the recommendations of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) mention the wearing of masks as one of the measures (together with keeping a safe distance, ventilation) to limit the spread of the virus in society. It is recommended wearing masks in closed public places (shops, stations, etc.) and public transport. Face masks are also recommended in certain areas to protect vulnerable individuals (nursing and care, health care facilities).
ECDC notes that proper use of masks indoors significantly reduces the risk of coronavirus infection when combined with other non-medical public health measures, such as hand hygiene, physical distance, avoidance of touching the face, breathing etiquette, and adequate ventilation.
The self-isolation of COVID-19 patients is reduced from Monday to five days because of the characteristics of the predominant strain of coronavirus, i.e., shorter incubation period. The need for longer isolation will be decided by the physician after assessing the patient's medical condition.
Although the country is gradually returning to pre-pandemic life, we call on the population to responsibly evaluate the recommendations provided by the Ministry of Health, to continue applying safety skills so as to protect their own and others’ health.