THE GROUP of experts advising the Spanish Health Ministry has agreed that the time has finally come for face coverings to no longer be obligatory on the country’s planes, buses, trains and underground systems.
The experts took the decision after Christmas on the basis of the positive Covid-19 situation in the country’s hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs), sources from the group told online Spanish daily Vozpopuli.
The advisory group was not expecting the pandemic to have such a minor effect during the winter, and nor have flu cases been of great concern either, the same sources told the newspaper.
They did, however, recommend waiting to see if the opening up of China – which is currently suffering a huge spike in coronavirus infections – would have any effect on the behaviour of the virus. This period will come to an end next week.
Speaking on Wednesday, Health Minister Carolina Darias echoed these views and said that ‘soon, soon, soon’ they would be scrapped. She also said that their continued use in the country’s pharmacies is being ‘studied’, in comments reported by news agency Europa Press.
Spain is one of the last countries in Europe to still have such coronavirus measures in place, along with Germany.
Representatives from the travel industry have been lobbying against the continued requirement for passengers on the country’s transport systems to continue wearing the face coverings.
In December, Spain’s Association of Airlines said that it was ‘inexplicable’ for the government to maintain the need to use masks, pointing out that passengers on Spanish airlines must wear the coverings at all times when flying to or from an airport in Spain, but only need to wear them when over Spanish airspace if flying with a foreign airline.