People wearing masks walk down a street in Valencia. / IVAN ARLANDIS

Spain's Health Minister hints that indoor face mask rules will not be eased until spring

The department fears a wave of influenza cases this winter, which could complicate the healthcare situation

IVAN ARLANDIS

The Ministry of Health in Spain is not yet considering dropping the existing mandatory wearing of face masks in indoor spaces, although the department’s head, Carolina Darias hinted this Friday (8 October) that it is unlikely it would happen before spring.

Darias, however, expressly avoided giving a date and called for patience, despite the improvement in the coronavirus pandemic figures and the fact that Spain returned to a Covid-19 'low risk' zone yesterday after the cumulative incidence rate fell below 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants after some 14 months.

The head of the Ministry of Health suggested that remaining coronavirus control measures would be eased "little by little". She warned that now, when the autumn "respiratory viruses" arrive, the healthcare situation could be complicated, especially if the mandatory wearing of face masks in some situations is relaxed.

Wave of flu

Darias said, "Indoors we are going to continue with [masks]," and added that they would see how the pandemic, which is declining thanks "to vaccination", develops.

The great fear of the ministry is that this autumn and winter a strong wave of influenza will be unleashed after the relaxation of the Covid measures. This year cases of flu in Spain reached historical lows, mainly thanks to the widespread use of masks.