The southern German state of Bavaria is to make it compulsory to wear masks in all shops and on public transport, Prime Minister Markus Söder announced Monday.
Speaking in Bavaria's state parliament, Söder said it would introduce "oral and nose protection obligation" from next week, adding that "some people also call it a mask obligation."
Söder said mouth and nose protection would play a "very central role" in containing the further spread of the coronavirus.
Bavaria is the first state in western Germany to introduce such regulations, Söder said.
The eastern state of Saxony introduced mandatory mouth and nose protection last week. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, also in the former east, has also introduced mask regulations, which will apply from April 27 -- as in Bavaria.
Opinions among experts vary as to how effective wearing a mask is to counter coronavirus, but more countries and regions have now made it compulsory to wear them in public.
Bavaria is the German state with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. As of Monday, Germany's largest state had recorded 37,849 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 1,286 fatalities, according to the Robert Koch institute, Germany's center for disease control.