The Italian government looks set to extend the current requirement that forces people to wear masks in public between the hours of 6pm and 6am.
Health minister Roberto Speranza has confirmed that the government intends to make the wearing of face masks obligatory at all times of the day right across the country.
“We are working on a proposal to make the use of face masks compulsory outdoors,” Speranza told parliament.
“We have to make an extra effort, because (masks) must be used in any situation where there is a chance of people meeting who do not live together.”
Children under six and people exercising alone outdoors will reportedly be exempt, as will those with disabilities which make wearing a mask impractical.
The move is part of a new government decree set to be published on Wednesday and which will contain new measures aimed at fighting the rising number of Covid-19 infections in the country.
Several Italian regions have already made wearing face masks compulsory at all times outside in response to recent spikes in the number of new cases being detected locally.
On Friday, Lazio became the latest region to require masks to be worn at all times in public, including outdoors.
Campania, Sicily, Calabria, Basilicata, Piedmont and Marche have the same rule in place and Puglia has also tightened mask-wearing rules.
Speranza said the nationwide measure is necessary as the infection rate is increasing across the country.
Italy has recorded over 2,000 new infections daily since October 1st, with the Lazio region on Sunday recording the highest number of both new cases and intensive care admissions.
Health minister Speranza told media on Sunday that, although Italy still has fewer cases than many other European countries “we are now in a phase of significant growth in the infection rate”.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday warned the public that “the battle is not won” and the country needs to remain on “maximum alert”.