Spain to reintroduce mandatory face mask wearing in hospitals after spike in flu and COVID cases
Spain’s minister of health, Monica Garcia, said the mandate, due to come into force on 10 January, was necessary to protect healthcare professionals.
Spain is to reintroduce the mandatory wearing of face masks in hospitals after a spike in flu and COVID cases.
The nationwide mandate by Spain’s central government is due to come into force on 10 January – despite opposition from some regional health authorities.
Spain’s minister of health, Monica Garcia, said the move was necessary to protect healthcare professionals.
“We are talking about putting on a mask when you enter a health centre and taking it off when you leave,” Ms Garcia told Spain’s Cadena Ser radio.
“I don’t think it is any drama. It is a basic and simple measure of the first order,” she added.
It comes after six areas, including Valencia, Catalonia, Murcia, and the Canary Islands, introduced regional mask-wearing mandates.
Spain’s central government proposed on Monday extending that requirement nationwide but received pushback from other regions – many of whom argued that mask use should be recommended but not obligatory.
Ms Garcia’s ministry decided to impose the measure after failing to reach an agreement with the regional health authorities.
While regional governments are in charge of healthcare in Spain, the central government can intervene if it deems it necessary.
Spain declared a formal end to the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic last July, saying people no longer needed to wear masks in health and care centres and pharmacies.
It was one of the last countries in Europe to do so.