• Darias announces that the Council of Ministers will give the green light to end the obligation in the second week of February, but it will remain in pharmacies and health centers

    The Minister of Health, Caroline Dariashas announced that the Government plans to approve the end of the obligation to carry face mask in it public transport in the Council of Ministers of February 7th, with which, taking into account the precedents, it could enter into force on Wednesday or the following Thursday, once the decree is published in the Official State Gazette. Of course, the mask will continue to be mandatory in health centers, pharmacies and for visitors and workers in residences and social health centers.

    The decision is motivated because the incidence of covid continues stable and has not increased during the Christmas celebrations or after the opening of the chinese borders, as was initially feared since the Asian giant is suffering a strong wave of covid due to the end of a strict containment policy. However, the entry of any worrying variant has not been detected at airports and the alert has also been lowered regarding the lineage detected in the US and Spain and called Kraken.

    In this context, the Minister of Health already warned a few days ago that the removal of masks in the public transport would arrive “soon, soon, soon” and this Thursday has set a final date for the end of the obligation, announcing that on February 7 the Ministry will submit the proposal to the Minister council. Fernando Simón, director of the Center for Health Alerts and Emergencies, had also advanced that the decision would come “next or the following week.”

    The decision is supported by the experts that advise the Government and the autonomies in the alert presentation, as stated by the minister, highlighting that each “phase”, each “achievement” against the pandemic, which was entered “without navigation charts”, has taken place “hand in hand with experts”. In any case, Health will convene a Interterritorial Council next week to inform and process the decision with the territorial administrations.

    Support of the autonomies

    Several communities have long been calling for the end of a protection measure that not used by many users, especially in the subway, where no one monitors its use. The Catalan ‘ex-minister’, Josep María Argimon, has questioned several times the obligation to wear a mask on transport and within the covid-19 scientific advisory committee of Catalonia the feeling is that “it makes no sense” to maintain this measure when for months not required in crowds and closed places such as discos or concerts where the spread of the covid can be similar to that which takes place on public transport, reports Beatriz Pérez.

    With the removal of the mask on the bus, subway or plane, it will only continue to be mandatory to use it in the pharmacies, health centers and for workers and visitors to residences and social health centers, in order to protect the elderly and vulnerable people who live or go to these places.

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    Spain is one of the few countries where it is still mandatory to wear a face mask on public transport and given that the covid remains stable and hospital pressure has not increased with the arrival of winter, more and more voices called for an end to a protection measure that, a simple walk through the subway, allows you to see that you do not have much social support. In fact, the transport sector demanded to put an end to it last September, but the experts in the presentation advised waiting for the winter to pass.

    And the arrival of the cold is causing a significant spike in flu and bronchiolitis, while the covid remains stable.