17 Jun, 2023 @ 09:15
1 min read

Spain’s health minister floats idea of scrapping mask use in healthcare settings

Masks are made mandatory in Spain's Valencia region: This is where you must cover your face from TODAY amid spike in Covid and flu cases
Imagen de Christo Anestev en Pixabay

MORE THAN three years after the coronavirus pandemic first hit Spain, the health minister has suggested that the time may have arrived to remove obligatory masks in the last few settings where they are still required. 

Currently, the face coverings must still be worn in healthcare centres such as hospitals and doctors surgeries, care homes and pharmacies.

But on Friday, Health Minister Jose Miñones said that the board that brings together Spain’s regional health systems would be meeting at the end of June to debate whether or not to scrap the requirements altogether.

“This needs to be done with rigour, and done seriously,” he said on Friday during a radio interview reported by news agency Europa Press. 

He added that Spain is moving closer to the ‘recommended’ use of masks in these settings rather than the ‘obligatory’ use, but he added that they were still important for protection not just against Covid-19 but also other respiratory viruses. 

The minister also explained that the over-80s would be offered vaccination against the coronavirus from October onward in Spain, and that the vaccine used would be Hipra, which has been developed and manufactured in the Catalonia region. 

Until February of this year, face masks were also obligatory on public transport in Spain, a measure that was scrapped by the Cabinet along with a requirement to wear them in opticians’, hearing centres and orthopaedic centres.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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