Thursday, September 28

Spain will remove the mask with the incidence in the 400 cases

Two workers with a mask in their workplace. / Video: Atlas

Darias confirms that each company will decide if it is mandatory to use this protection element in their workplace

Spain will abandon the acute phase of the pandemic, symbolically and psychologically, with the removal of indoor masks on April 20, in just two days, but it will not do so, far from it, in the dream scenario. Months ago, the objective of the Ministry of Health was to reach this situation with an accumulated incidence below 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, or at most, 100. The reality is very different: the accumulated incidence in those over 60 years of age , the only one that has been measured since the end of March, when the covid-19 ‘flu’ process began, will be around 400 cases or more this Wednesday. Last Tuesday, the last day data was provided, it stood at 435.42 cases.

In addition, the other main indicator in this new stage, the occupation of hospitals, must also be viewed with caution. Although hospitalization is at low risk levels, the number of those admitted to the ward has increased slightly in recent weeks and that of those admitted to the ICU has stopped falling. And another risk appears on the horizon: this year’s Holy Week has been the first massive since the start of the pandemic, with large displacements and massive events, which opens the possibility of an increase in infections in the next 15 or 20 days that can affect hospitalizations. In fact, Health initially considered decreeing the end of the masks before that holiday, but the data pushed the experts to delay the decision until after Easter Sunday.

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“It’s the right time [para retirar las mascarillas en interiores] due to the evolution of the pandemic and due to the very high vaccination coverage, 92.5% of the population with a complete schedule,” said Carolina Darias on April 6, when the date of the end of the last great restriction of the pandemic was announced. . The plans of his department contemplate the possibility of going back if the indicators worsen in the coming weeks, but for now the technicians of the ministry do not contemplate that option and instead, they work on the details of the royal decree that the Council of Ministers will approve tomorrow and that will take effect on Wednesday. The mask will continue to be mandatory in health centers, in residences and on public transport, but there is a wide casuistry that the decree will finish establishing.

At an event in Las Palmas on Saturday, Darias confirmed that it will be each company that decides whether masks are mandatory in their workplace. In addition, in an interview in ‘El País’, the minister announced that the mask will also continue to be worn in pharmacies and blood transfusion centers, which are considered health establishments. In schools, neither students nor teachers will have to wear it, except for the vulnerable. It is not yet known, however, what will happen in churches and places of worship, where vulnerable populations are concentrated, or in sports stadiums, where crowds can occur. And in any case, the minister insists that “responsible use” will be recommended when a safety distance of one and a half meters cannot be kept and in places where there is no good ventilation.

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