Coronavirus: Texas governor mandates wearing of face masks

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Media captionWhy coronavirus cases are surging in Texas

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an executive order that all Texans don face coverings in public in counties with 20 or more Covid-19 cases.

Texas has seen a surge of hospital admissions in recent days, hitting a record high of more than 8,000 virus cases in a single day on Wednesday.

“Wearing a face covering will help us to keep Texas open for business,” Mr Abbott said, announcing the order.

After an initial warning, those who refuse will face a fine up to $250.

Texas was at the forefront of states loosening lockdown measures, meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Mr Abbott allowed his initial stay home order to lapse on 30 April, with almost all businesses operating to at least 50% capacity by early June.

Amid the virus surge, Mr Abbott began to walk back his state’s reopening last week, ordering all bars shut and cutting restaurant capacity from 75-50%.

“We are now at a point where the virus is spreading so fast there is little margin for error,” Mr Abbott said on Thursday.

“If we want to avoid lockdowns, if we want to protect those we care about, we need all Texans to join this effort.”