Health undertakes to study the removal of the mandatory mask on public transport

  • There are more and more voices demanding the end of the mandatory use of face masks

  • The matter is the responsibility of the Government and is regulated by royal decree law

  • Minister Darias wants to have the opinion of the experts from the Alerts Panel beforehand

This Wednesday the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System was held and, as NIUS has learned from sources attending the telematic meeting, The Ministry of Health has promised to take the removal of the mask on public transport to the meeting of experts of the Alerts Conference.

At the meeting, several communities have expressed the need to review the mandatory use, before said claim, the Ministry has assured that it will present the matter before the relevant body: the Alerts Conference in which the autonomous communities and the Ministry are represented. “Specialists continue to study it and when they have a report or opinion they will raise it,” say Health sources.

From the hands of the experts

The use of the mask is a matter for the Government and regulated by royal decree law, but Darias appeals to specialists. “We will do what the experts say,” the minister reiterated on Tuesday. “For now there is no proposal from the Alerts Committee on the elimination of masks, but if it comes, we will be in a position to assess it to take the best of measures, always hand in hand with the experts,” he insisted.

One of the communities that demands the technical review of the mandatory nature of the masks as soon as possible, “to approve their withdrawal”, is the Madrid’s community. Although it is not the only one. Catalonia or Castilla León also ask for the end of the mandatory face mask on public transport.

Epidemiologists in favor of the withdrawal of the obligation

Although there are specialists who bet on waiting, there are more and more experts in Public Health and Preventive Medicine who are openly in favor of withdrawing the mandatory use of the mask in public transport. Fernando Simón himself, director of the CCAES, has expressed himself in this regard, taking into account the epidemiological situation. “With the best hospital pressure data from the pandemic, the time has come to do it, if it is waited, the incidence will probably rise and it will be difficult to justify the measure,” says the epidemiologist and pediatrician Quique Bassat. And he is not the only one, “the mandatory nature of the standard should have ended a long time ago,” says José Gómez Rial, an immunologist at the Clinical Hospital of Santiago de Compostela. “The logical thing, at this time, is to change towards a recommendation in certain times and transport, such as the subway at rush hour, and certain vulnerable groups”.

According to the epidemiologist Ignacio Rosell, at the present time, with a low recorded incidence of covid-19 and little pressure on the health system, “it would seem reasonable to lift the mandatory mask measure on public transport.” Although the expert sees it important to remember several points such as public transport is not optional for many people, such as entering a bar or a place of entertainment. In addition, he stresses, the fact that at the present time it may be considered reasonable to lift this measure “does not imply at all” that its reintroduction may be contemplated in the future, and perhaps in a short time, given the chronology of previous waves.

The measure, Rosell indicates, is not exclusive to Spain, “some other country in our environment still maintains the mandatory mask in force on public transport, regardless of its greater or lesser compliance.” “It would be highly inadvisable if disaffection with this measure, which is perceived as not very justifiable by a growing sector of the population, ends up leading to a majority noncompliance, generating a dangerous precedent,” he considers. In this sense, the specialist in Public Health would like the launching “a good awareness campaign” so that people with symptoms who were forced to use public transport get used to the use of the mask and this is seen normally, as it happens in other countries.

The Article Is In Spanish🡽

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