Wednesday, 11 May 2022, 13:59
Europe continues to take steps towards new post-Covid normality; plans to end its recommendation that face masks be made mandatory on planes and at airports have been detailed by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in its latest update.
However, the recommendation will remain in place in the case of flights that take off or land in destinations where masks are still mandatory on public transport - such as Spain - and for vulnerable passengers, who are advised to use an FPP2 type mask.
Despite the European recommendation, the final decision on masks on planes and at airports remains in the hands of individual member states and airlines. Since 20 April, the mask has no longer been required at Spanish airports, but it is on public transport.
European organisations have made this decision, which will be applicable from 16 May, after evaluating the latest data on the pandemic, the levels of vaccination on the continent and the immunity acquired by the millions of people infected in the last two years.
"While the risks remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal," said ECDC director Andrea Ammon.
“"From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport," said European Union Aviation Safety Agency executive director Patrick Ky.
Even so, both European bodies reminded the public that the face mask remains one of the most useful protection measures to stop Covid-19 infections. “Passengers must behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should seriously consider wearing a face mask, for the peace of mind of those sitting nearby."
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