MADRID – Facemasks will be mandatory again in Spain from December 24, both indoors and outdoors. The Spanish Prime Minister, after consultation with the regional presidents, found it necessary to take this extra measure against the exponentially growing omicron variant.
Prime Minister Sanchez made this announcement on Wednesday, and the decree was approved by the government of Spain today (Thursday). The main reason for the reintroduction of a national mandatory facemask obligation is the threat of a huge sixth corona wave in Spain. This has been mainly caused by the exponential growth of infections from the omicron variant.
Earlier this week, various Spanish media wrote primary care and emergency care in Spain are on the verge of collapse. Reason enough for the Spanish Prime Minister to take action.
High risk in most Spanish regions
Spain had to deal with a record number of infections (above 60,000) for a second consecutive day on Wednesday. The corona incidence was set on Wednesday at 784 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days. More than half of the Spanish regions are currently at high risk. Only Castile La Mancha and Andalucia are officially classified as ‘high risk’ because the incidence is still below 500 cases.
Spain said goodbye to the obligation to facemasks 6 months ago
Prime Minister Sánchez called on regional presidents on Wednesday to discuss the mask requirement across Spain again. Despite the fact that 90% of the population has been vaccinated, the drivers found it necessary to make the mask mandatory again from December 24. It has now been six months since the mask obligation was lifted in Spain.
From 24 December, wearing a facemask will be mandatory both indoors and outdoors, with the exception of four situations:
- While doing sports;
- When people walk outside alone or with one other person, as long as the mutual distance is at least 1.5 metres;
- Outside in nature or on the beach;
- At home with the family.
Spanish army helps speed up vaccination campaign
In addition to the mask obligation that will be in force again from Friday, Pedro Sánchez also announced that he was also speeding up the vaccination campaign. The Spanish government is going to deploy the army for this to get more speed in vaccination. The government’s goal is for 80% of people in their sixties to have had a booster shot by 2021; that 80% of people in their fifties had a booster shot before January 24, 2021, and that 80% of people in their forties had a booster shot before the beginning of March 2022.
The government also wants 70% of all children between the ages of 5 and 11 to have had their first vaccination before 7 February. Before April 19, 70% of this target group must have received a second vaccination.