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COVID-19

VIDEO: Five key questions about the coronavirus answered

The coronavirus is spreading around Europe and the world, but what do we actually know about the virus so far and what are the best steps to take to avoid catching it? Watch The Local's free video by Alex Dunham.

VIDEO: Five key questions about the coronavirus answered
 
Hello,
 
The Local's mission is to give our readers the information they need to navigate their lives in new countries. We rely on paying members to do that, but we have chosen not to put any of our articles about the coronavirus behind our hard paywall, to help the public and counter the spread of misinformation. We believe it is the right thing to do.
 
This means that new or occasional readers can read articles for free. We are also dropping the paywall completely on any articles containing advice or need-to-know information. That includes this article as well as lots of other content.
 
We have had a few questions from readers this week if there is a way you can donate to The Local to support our work.
 
The best way is simply to sign up for membership via the blue “Become a Member” button at the top of the page. If you wish you can cancel at a later date. It's easy to do. 
 
We hope our paying members understand why we have chosen to make these articles about the coronavirus free for everyone, but if you have any questions, please let me know.
 
 
All the best,
Emma
Deputy Managing Editor, The Local 

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COVID-19

Health experts advise end of masks on public transport in Spain

Spanish health experts have advised the government that the use of masks should no longer be obligatory on public transport, but no concrete date has yet been set.

Health experts advise end of masks on public transport in Spain

Health experts who advise the Spanish Ministry of Health have said that masks should no longer be mandatory on public transport, but with the caveat that the government should first wait and observe the epidemiological situation in China, which has experienced a surge in case numbers since it abandoned its strict ‘Zero Covid’ strategy at the end of 2022, following widespread civil unrest.

The use of masks on public transport has now been the norm in Spain for almost three years, since the start of the pandemic. 

Speaking to Ser Canarias, Darias said: “We are getting closer and closer [to the end of having to wear a mask], but we will have to see how things evolve in order to make that decision; obviously the epidemiological situation is getting better and better, but we have to see how the issue of China evolves”. 

Reports in the Spanish press suggest some kind of agreement was made during a meeting between the government and the experts in December that masks would no longer be compulsory after assessing the situation in China, however, there is still no fixed date.

Back in October 2022, Spain’s ‘Emergency Unit’ suggested that mask rules would not be reviewed until March 2023 at the earliest, but more recently it said that it does not seem necessary to wait for March to remove the mask rule. 

According to recent Ministry of Health figures, just 2.79 percent of hospital beds in Spain are taken up by Covid-19 patients.

READ ALSO: Face masks to remain mandatory on public transport in Spain until March 2023

The use of masks indoors in Spain ceased to be mandatory on April 20th, 2022, after almost two years, however, they have remained mandatory in hospitals, pharmacies and, crucially, also on buses, metro, trains, planes and taxis.

While the mask rules have been strictly enforced in some places in Spain such as Seville and Valencia, in other cities such as Barcelona, many people refuse to wear them, despite the regulations still officially being in place. 

READ ALSO: Spain now requires Covid certificates for arrivals from China

In China, figures suggest that almost 60,000 people have died as a result of Covid-19 in a single month amid the spike in cases following the end of the country’s draconian restrictions. In response, Spain reintroduced health control checks for travellers arriving from China. 

It seems that Darias and the Spanish government are waiting to see how the situation plays out in China first, but all the indications and expert advice seems to suggest that masks will no longer be mandatory in public transport sometime very soon. 

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