SPAIN’S Ministry of Health will impose the mandatory use of masks in health centres and hospitals throughout the country as respiratory infections rise and to also provide legal protection to those regions that have already reintroduced masks.
The Ministry has now given a Wednesday deadline for all regional governments to send them reports on the proposal.
The decision has taken under article 65 of the law on cohesion and quality of the National Health System, which regulates the declaration of coordinated actions in public health and that ‘binds all parties’ included in it.
The move came after Monday’s meeting with the regions via the Interterritorial Council ran by the health ministry which saw some areas wanting mask wearing to remain purely voluntarily.
Just six regions, Catalunya, the Valencian Community, Aragon, Murcia, the Canary Islands and Asturias have reintroduced compulsory mask wearing, which was eliminated in early July.
Health Minister, Monica Garcia, has not indicated what will happen to areas that do not implement mandatory masks.
“Whoever wants to play hide and seek and with people’s health, I wish them good luck in life,” she told Cadena SER Radio.
“We can’t get used to an epidemic like the flu, which is seasonal, leading to the suspension of operating rooms, postponement of surgeries, etc.”
“We have learned something from the pandemic and we are going to work with the communities to coordinate the actions,” added the Minister of Health.
García reported that the Ministry has taken up the initiative of some communities to extend the obligation of its use to pharmacies and has insisted on the need to give legal support to communities ‘of different political colours that have already introduced the obligation in their health systems’.
However, many regions including Andalucia, Madrid and Navarre have been totally against imposing the mandatory use of masks and their line is to recommend mask usage without compulsion.