COMPULSORY mask wearing in Valencian Community medical centres and hospitals will end after it was imposed regionally on January 5 in a response to rises in respiratory infections.
The order will cease from Wednesday once a notification is published in the regional Official Gazette.
A sharp fall in Covid and flu infections coupled with a drop in pressure on hospitals caused by respiratory infections have prompted the Valencian Health Ministry to lift the measure.
The Galicia and Murcia regions have also announced similar decisions on Tuesday.
Valencia’s Health Minister, Marciano Gomez, said that the move is in response ‘to the notable decrease registered in the last three weeks in the Community of acute respiratory infections’.
They currently stand at 830 cases per 100,000 residents according to figures from the Epidemiology service of the Public Health Directorate-General.
Infections have fallen by almost half since a peak in the first week of January when mandatory mask wearing in health facilities was reintroduced, having been scrapped in July.
Respiratory cases at that stage had peaked at 1,501 instances per 100,000 people.
“After listening to the Public Health and Preventive Medicine technicians and due to the good evolution of the data, both in terms of cumulative incidence and care pressure in hospital emergencies, we have decided to withdraw the mandatory use of masks in health and social health centres,” said Marciano Gomez.
It is still recommended to wear a mask in health premises and each health department in the region will have the option to decide whether to make it mandatory in hospitals if cases rise.
Gomez said that the decision complied with the national Ministry of Health guidelines which in effect imposed a countrywide mask mandate which could only be rescinded if there was a significant reduction in respiratory case rates for a fortnight.
He also issued a reminder that the vaccination campaign is still running with health continuing to offer flu and Covid jabs without the need for an appointment.