Spain to make face masks mandatory in health centers due to flu wave

Madrid, January 8 (EFE) – The Spanish government will impose mandatory quarantine in health centers across the country next Wednesday, as a wave of flu cases is detected across the country and the number of hospital admissions due to the disease increases. Mask use increased by 60% within a week.

The Spanish Ministry of Health aims to provide equal protection against respiratory viruses to all citizens and to legally protect the regions that have implemented this measure, as so far only six regions in Spain have done so: Catalonia, the Autonomous Community of Valencia, Aragon, Murcia and, starting from tomorrow, the Canary Islands and Asturias.

Meanwhile, other advocates recommended its use and notified Spanish health authorities of the situation on Monday.

However, the Spanish Ministry of Health aims to unify the protection of citizens regardless of which community they live in, in addition to providing legal support to communities that choose to enforce this provision in health centers and hospitals.

This formula has been used during the Covid-19 pandemic to impose restrictions such as hourly limits on hospitality services, closing nightlife or banning smoking in the streets once communities return to power after the state of alarm ends.

Although the Spanish government has resorted to decrees to regulate the use of masks during the epidemic, the decision on whether to make their use mandatory lies with each autonomous region.

The Association of Family Medicine, the Spanish Society of Emergency Medicine (SEMES) and the Federation of Societies Defending Public Health (FADSP) all support the mandatory use of masks in health centres, and the associations have even suggested extending the obligation to public transport and poorly ventilated spaces.

The latest data from the Surveillance System for Acute Respiratory Infections (SiVIRA) of the Carlos III Institute of Health show that the number of hospital admissions due to influenza in Spain increased by 60% in a week, reaching 9.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, an increase of 3.6 percentage points compared with the previous week. It rose for the week and has risen since late October.

The global acute respiratory infection rate in primary care was 952.9 cases per 100,000 cases in the last week of December, much higher than the 533.4 cases registered at the beginning of the month.

(c) EFE Agency

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