Madrid (EFE).- Spain ends this Wednesday 1,010 days of mandatory mask on public transport at a time when the covid-19 pandemic is close to its lowest incidence figures, although it will continue to be advisable for vulnerable people or in the presence of symptoms of respiratory infection.
The reform of the royal decree of April 2022 that regulates the use of face masks approved this Tuesday by the Council of Ministers, which comes into force today when it is published in the BOE, represents “one more step” in the response that our country has gone Given the epidemiological situation, the head of Health, Carolina Darias, has assessed.
And the current situation, he said, allows them to finally be removed from trains, planes, buses or subways, where they were imperative since May 4, 2020, as well as from health establishments such as orthopedics, opticians and audioprosthesis centers, where they are remained mandatory in April of last year when they were removed from interiors.
But not pharmacies and first-aid kits or health and social health centers regulated in a royal decree of 2003 that lists up to a hundred, from health centers to hospitals -whether general, specialized, medium or long stay-, tissue banks, semen, medical examination centers, dental clinics, aesthetics or the physiotherapist’s office, among others.
Pending its publication in the BOE, the new standard will also maintain the obligation in residences and other social and health centers for the people who work in them, as long as they are in contact with residents and for visitors when they are in shared areas.
Asked about their imposition in jobs, the minister recalled that they are not mandatory as a general rule, although a safeguard clause is maintained for the risk and prevention services to decide.
With a cumulative incidence of 50.7 cases at 14 days, hospital occupancy of 1.6% and ICUs of 1.7%, “we are in a situation of enormous stability in terms of covid”, with a of the lowest rates, “if not the most”, of the entire pandemic, he has emphasized.
Figures that contrast with those of a year ago -in January 2022 the incidence was 3,418 cases, although it was measured in a different way- and that are the result of the vaccination campaign, in which Spain has already administered 110 million doses , of which 26 million are first booster doses.
Recommended for vulnerable people or with symptoms
Despite the end of the mandatory nature of the mask in transport, in which only Spain already maintained it, Darias wanted to emphasize that its use will continue to be recommended for vulnerable people or with symptoms, in line with what health experts have been defending. public.
In this sense, the Spanish Society of Epidemiology has encouraged not to rule out its use in certain circumstances, because it continues to be a particularly recommended tool for people who have respiratory symptoms compatible with covid-19, flu, colds, and other infections. respiratory.
They extend the same to vulnerable people, with a higher risk of developing serious diseases, such as the elderly, pregnant women and people who have cardiovascular diseases, cancer or immunosuppression, among others, they have pointed out in a statement.
In the same way, the Platform of Patient Organizations has asked this Tuesday that “vulnerable people are not forgotten” and calls for prudence “given the time of year in which we find ourselves, very conducive to the increase in infections respiratory”.
In most of the communities they have welcomed the measure, although several have criticized that it is a unilateral decision of the Government that was announced without having yet had any favorable technical opinion, as Madrid and Galicia already criticized in their day.
Yesterday, the Andalusian president, Juanma Moreno, regretted that the Executive had not agreed with the autonomous communities on the regulatory reform and added that they should have waited until the end of winter to do so.
On the contrary, for others the time is right, as the Minister of Health of Aragon, Sira Repollés, has described, who has described the decision as “sensible”, or that of Cantabria, Raúl Pesquera, who has considered that it is a ” good time” to relax the use of face masks in transport, although he has asked not to lower his guard and get vaccinated.
The second vice president of Extremadura, José María Vergeles, has stated along the same lines, who considers that the use of masks is “highly recommended” if you have symptoms and has trusted that the royal decree will emphasize this advice.
Who has ruled in favor of the measure without adding any but is the transport employers and also the passenger transport confederation.
“This is a rule that the sector had been demanding to eliminate from the Administration for many months, and that was penalizing the activity of passenger transport,” has censured the Confederation of Passenger Transport by bus, which trusts that this measure will contribute to the promotion of transport in this medium.