The US Department of Defense (DoD) has issued an order making masks mandatory for everyone at military installations across the country in a bid to control the spread of Covid-19.

The US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin III has signed a memo that directs all individuals on military installations and others carrying out official duties on behalf of the department to wear masks in accordance with the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines with certain exemptions.

The directive is effective immediately.

All staff and other individuals must wear masks to cover their nose and mouth continuously except when they are required to lower it for identification or security purposes, as well as while eating or drinking or when they alone in the office.

Additionally, the relevant authorities can also issue an exemption as or when required to accommodate an individual with disability.

Notably, the US is the worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of confirmed cases and fatalities. As of 5 February, the US has reported more than 26.7 million coronavirus cases and around 455,000 deaths.

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The new US administration has ramped up efforts to restrict the spread of novel coronavirus disease with the implementation of social distancing measures and making masks mandatory at public places.

US President Joe Biden has also proposed a $1.9tn aid package to support the pandemic-affected economy.

Globally, Covid-19 has affected 105 million people and killed more than 2.28 million.