COMPULSORY mask wearing in hospitals and health centres in the Valencian Community has been reinstated this Friday.

The decision was taken by the regional Ministry of Health following a rise in flu cases along with respiratory infections.

The previous mask mandate introduced during the Covid pandemic was lifted by the national government last July after being imposed for over three years.

Between December 25 and 31, the incidence of flu quadrupled in the Valencia region, from 142 cases per 100,000 inhabitants the previous week (from December 18 to 24) to 551, according to the ministry.

There was also an increase in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which went from 192.8 cases per 100,000 people to 258.2.

The Covid-19 infection rate actually decreased slightly from 247.3 cases per 100,000 to 222.2.

The Health Ministry says masks must be worn in the following instances, which to all intents and purposes covers pretty much the bulk of hospital and health centre areas:

-Symptomatic people in shared spaces.

-Professionals who care for symptomatic cases.

-Hospital and primary care emergencies.

-In places where patients and families gather, such as waiting rooms.

-Other situations generally intended to protect vulnerable people, the management of the health departments, supported by their own protocols and the recommendations of the Preventive Medicine services, which may establish the mandatory use of the mask in additional areas.

-People who work in ICUs and with vulnerable patients.

A national family doctor group on Thursday called for mask wearing to be reintroduced amidst a rise in infections and concerns that figures will increase following the Three Kings holiday weekend and next week’s reopening of schools.

From this Monday, all health centres in the Valencian Community will also offer a ‘walk-in’ service to get flu and Covid jabs without a prior appointment.

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