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Mexican State Brings Back Mask Mandate as COVID Numbers Rise

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A northern Mexican state reintroduced the obligatory use of face masks in closed public spaces, officials said on Monday, in a bid to reduce rising COVID-19 infections, as well as the spread of other respiratory diseases.

The health minister of Nuevo Leon state, home to Mexico’s third-biggest city Monterrey, highlighted the updated guidelines in a news conference, and said that the measure will go into effect immediately.

Official figures show Nuevo Leon is one of the areas with the highest concentrations of COVID-19 in Mexico, with new daily cases ticking up to nearly 120 at the start of last week; the highest level since September.

Around 86% of the state’s population have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, according to the latest figures, meaning the COVID risk is classified at “medium.” Locally, the benchmark for a “low risk” environment is a 90% vaccination rate.

Mexico’s federal government removed the recommendation to wear a face mask in open spaces in October, though it was never legally required.

(Reporting by Isabel Woodford; Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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