Timeline: How Europe embraced the coronavirus face mask

In a few short months, wearing a face mask in Europe has gone from being an oddity, to (in many cases) a legal responsibility.

Many now regard it as an essential act of social obligation at a time when we could all be unknowing asymptomatic carriers of a deadly disease.

Others see it as an encroachment of the nanny state on personal freedom (one British MP denounced the “monstrous imposition” in the House of Commons and said the requirement to wear it would put him off shopping). Still others have tried to make the best of it by turning their face covering into a fashion statement or a badge of national identity.

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