AN end to compulsory indoor mask-wearing may not happen yet in Spain as Covid-19 infections start to rise again.
Despite optimism from Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, over three weeks ago that indoor masking would ‘end soon’, there has been no move so far from the Ministry of Health.
The Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians urged caution on Monday.
Spokesman, Lorenzo Armenteros, said: “The easing of measures against the coronavirus is pushing up infection rates as has happened in European countries that have decreed the end of masking in enclosed spaces.”
Austria has reintroduced mandatory indoor mask wearing and the first week of reduced indoor masking in France coincided with a 36% rise in confirmed Covid-19 cases.
“We have more flexibility than other countries due to our current mask laws, but making changes could increase infection risks,” added Armenteros.
The government intends to reach some kind of a consensus within the Interterritorial Council where regional health ministers from the 17 regions meet weekly with the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias.
Catalunya and Madrid are advocating a phased reduction starting with school classrooms.
Mask-wearing is also mandatory for big outdoor events and Andalucia is insisting that ‘this is not the time to eliminate its use’ especially with the big Easter celebrations around the corner which will bring big outdoor crowds.
Speaking on Monday, the region’s Deputy Minister for Health and Families, Catalina Garcia, said: “We have remained on a plateau for infections and the incidence fluctuates for days.”
Garcia’s view is also shared by the Valencian Community, with medical experts advising president, Ximo Puig, not to relax mask mandates for the time being.
Nationally, Ciudadamos, Vox, and other political groupings are demanding that Carolina Darias makes a statement to Congress over the timetable for the removal of indoor masks.
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