Various countries have eliminated the mask-wearing obligation. | Archive

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On Wednesday, a meeting of Spain's Interterritorial Health Council (national and regional health authorities) will discuss the wearing of masks on public transport, which is currently obligatory in Spain. On Thursday, the Public Health Commission will also consider this, taking account of views from the health authorities.

Spain's health minister, Carolina Darias, has repeatedly stated that masks will remain mandatory on public transport until experts recommend otherwise, and there are expert voices who do not believe this is now necessary. At present, the cumulative incidence of Covid among the over-60s at national level is 129 per 100,000. This is forecast to continue to decrease. In the Balearics it is 81.55.

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Fernando Simón, the director of the Centre for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, says that "right now, and from a technical point of view, it doesn't seem very logical to wear masks on public transport". There are, he adds, many other situations with large gatherings of people, such as concerts, bars and fiestas, "and practically no one wears a mask". In countries where masks on public transport are no longer obligatory, "the epidemiological indicators have not worsened". There are, however, countries where masks are still mandatory on trains, buses and planes - Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Italy and Malta.

Joan Carles March, a specialist in public health and preventive medicine, disagrees with Simón. He believes that it would be wise to wait until after autumn and winter because of respiratory diseases that are typical of these seasons. "Public transport is a place with a high concentration of people in very small spaces and without adequate ventilation." In his view, eliminating masks would especially harm the most vulnerable people.