In an official announcement, the Spanish government has announced that the use of face masks will be obligatory from May 21 onwards in closed spaces and on the streets where two-meter safe distances cannot be adhered to. Health Minister Salvador Illa told a press conference that Spain was extending the use of protective face masks, which have been compulsory on public transportation since May 4. This comes as the stay-at-home orders were relaxed and people were allowed to exercise and do movement outside of home confinements.
The Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (SNS) held the central government and regional leaders meeting as of May 19 to discuss the proposal to extend the use of protective face-covering in the pubic premises, as per local media reports. At the meeting, an agreement was drafted to make the protective masks obligatory in closed spaces and on the streets as a health safety measure to stem the infection spread among the communities. In areas where compliance with social distancing, 6 feet apart, would not be possible, masks will have to be worn, Health Ministry mentioned at the daily COVID-19 briefing.
From the team that brought you "face masks are not necessary" or "we will have maximum a few cases" in February it appears face masks will now be mandatory in public spaces in Spain. Only 3 months and somewhere around 40-50K dead later. https://t.co/99zwhMnWu1— Jaime Bece (@jaime_bece) May 19, 2020
Until now, face masks were a part of the “recommendation” in the health safety guidelines in Spain, according to media reports. However, as a mandatory law, the ministerial order to extend the use of protective covering would be published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) that will make the rule obligatory. The order will also list circumstances when the masks can be avoided.
Spain’s director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Centre for health alerts, Fernando Simón, was quoted saying that while he would not comment on the effectiveness of the protective or the N95 masks in the containment of the COVID-19 disease, the rule would be made a mandate. There is now a high recommendation for anyone who goes onto the street to wear a mask to protect the community, he said. Making them obligatory is to overact a bit, it might be okay, but perhaps it should act in areas social distancing gets to near impossible. The best mask is a two-meter distance, he added.
(Image Credit: AP)