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Germany made the wearing of medical-grade masks mandatory in shops and on public transport, amid fears that more contagious variants of coronavirus are plunging the country into a deeper health crisis, according to a government statement.
The penalty for not wearing a medical face mask varies from state to sate. Offenders in Bavaria, for example, could face a fine of up to 250 euros, around $300.
Germany joins Austria in enforcing stricter guidelines on medical-grade face coverings. In Austria, FFP2 masks will be required from Jan. 25.
The news comes as German leader Angela Merkel announced that the country would extend its national lockdown until February 14, in a press conference Tuesday evening. The lockdown was previously scheduled to end on Jan. 31.  
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz wear protective face masks at the chancellor’s offices in Berlin on Wednesday.Fabrizio Bensch / AFP – Getty Images