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Spain Mandates Face Mask As COVID-19 Cases Rise

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New Delhi: Amid a significant increase in COVID-19 and flu cases, Spain has reinstated mandatory face masks across the entire country.

The Health Ministry has enforced this decision, making it obligatory to wear face masks in hospitals and healthcare centers from this Wednesday, despite opposition from most of Spain’s autonomous regions.

This action follows similar moves by regions like Valencia and the Canary Islands, swiftly implementing measures due to rising COVID-19 and flu cases.

Health Minister Monica Garcia clarified that the requirement entails wearing masks upon entering healthcare facilities and removing them upon departure, emphasizing it as a crucial and straightforward preventive measure.

The Health Ministry’s decision stems from mounting pressure on Spain’s hospitals, facing a surge in flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory illnesses. Despite opposition from regional health authorities, the ministry proceeded with the mandate, with many advocating for mask use as a recommendation rather than a obligation.

While healthcare management is regionally autonomous, the central government can intervene if deemed necessary. Six regions had previously implemented similar measures, making masks a common sight on streets, public transport, and in healthcare settings. Catalonia, the Valencian Community, Murcia, Aragon, Asturias, and the Canary Islands were among the regions already taking such actions.

This reversal comes after Spain officially declared an end to the COVID-19 health crisis in July, removing the mask requirement in health centers and pharmacies. However, the resurgence of cases, especially the simultaneous increase in COVID-19 and flu infections, has led to the nationwide reintroduction of face mask requirements to curb the spread of respiratory illnesses.

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