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Masks mandatory again in medical centres across Spain
Friday, January 12, 2024 @ 9:53 PM

MASKS are once again compulsory in medical centres and hospitals in some regions in Spain, and strongly recommended in others, the ministry of health has announced.

Masks are strongly recommended in health centres in some regions, but in others they are now compulsory (photo: Mercadona)

A high incidence of seasonal 'flu has generated much-increased patient traffic in A&E departments and hospital wards and, as seen during the Covid pandemic, wearing masks in enclosed spaces helps reduce transmission.

Over 90% of the adult population in Spain took up the offer of a Covid vaccine when these were launched and rolled out over 2021 and 2022, meaning very severe cases of the virus are rare, but the take-up rate for the influenza jab is usually lower, only offered free of charge to over-65s, key workers, and those with health conditions that could aggravate and worsen an incidence of 'flu.

Catalunya, Murcia and the Comunidad Valenciana – most of the east coast of mainland Spain – made masks mandatory from January 5 in hospitals and GP surgeries, for staff and members of the public, and the Canary Islands followed suit on January 9.

Aragón, in the north-east, has made masks obligatory for staff in medical centres, but only 'advisable' for care users, particularly those with symptoms of respiratory infections, and also on public transport, in crowded areas or in waiting rooms.

Cantabria, on Spain's north coast, has announced there will be no move to make masks compulsory, only to recommend their use in medical facilities, since no major spike in patient numbers has been seen in the region through seasonal infections – or nothing outside the ordinary increase that occurs every winter, health boss César Pascual notes.



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