Healthcare will extend the requirement for face masks in public spaces

Healthcare will extend the requirement for face masks in public spaces
Healthcare will extend the requirement for face masks in public spaces

While no detail has yet been provided, Salvador Illa, Minister for Health, has said that the requirement to wear masks in public spaces will be extended. Ill has confirmed that he has broad concensus from the autonomous governments.

Until now it has only been compulsory to wear face masks on public transport but Illa has confirmed that work is underway to draft a ministerial order to be published “in the coming days” on the matter. He has not yet provided any detail and declined to do so “until the order is closed.”

On Monday another videoconference will be held with the communities and the compulsory use of face masks in public places will be debated. Masks were mandatory on public transport since 3 May and have been distributed at Metro and terminals since 13 April.

Illa has also confirmed the “immediate application” of the extension of the specific de-escalation measures that are currently in effect in towns of less than 5.000 and has agreed to extend these to towns which have less than 10,000 inhabitants. In these municipalities, the time slots for walks will be eliminated: “It is about adapting the de-escalation to rural Spain, which has its own characteristics.”

Regarding the mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors to Spain, Illa has confirmed that these regulations will remain in place.

“Tourism is a very important sector and the best way to preserve it is to take specific measures. We are working very intensively so that the regulations are lifted when the time is right and in the best security conditions.” He confirmed that the quarantine would remain in place for as long as Spain was in the State of Alarm and “as long as we continue to see it as necessary” with María Jesús Montero adding that, “Tourism is not about running a race to anywhere but to a safe place”.

Concerning the provinces that have not yet progressed to phase 1, Illa did not want to respond to harsh criticism from the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who said that the decision not to allow the city t move to phase 1 was politically motivated only stating that the technical criteria had not yet been met. “I have been clear from the beginning that we play on the same team as the autonomous communities. I will not be undermined. The technical reasons are clear.”

Illa also confirmed that there would be complete transparency with the health and epidemiological reports and that they would be made public at the appropriate time and confirmed that hte downward trend in the death toll – 87 today – showed that the lockdown “works” and “has saved lives and benefitted all communities”.

Illa ended his address by saying that the request for new one month extension by President Pedro Sánchez, until the de-escalation process concludes, is needed in order to contain the movement of people until the situation is safe.