In just over three months, we’ll be “celebrating” two years since the words Covid-19, pandemic, masks, social distancing, mandates, vaccines and new normal not only became part of our vocabulary but part of our daily lives. The 11th March 2020 when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic and the 14th March 2020 when the Spanish Government announced a national lockdown are dates we will remember for a long time.
Yesterday, Thursday 23rd December 2021, the Spanish Government convened and along with Autonomous Regions agreed a series of measures to combat the Omicron variant that seems to be a super spreader of Covid-19. Although the vast majority of the population has been vaccinated and has marked a clear difference in the evolution of the virus, we’ve seen in the last few weeks how the number of active cases on Fuerteventura alone has steadily increased, although it must also be said that 1% of said cases are hospitalized. This has forced the Government’s hand into intensifying current measures to include increased use of masks in public as recorded in Royal Decree-Law 30/2021, that has been approved and published with effects from today, 24th December.
This decree modifies previous legislation and states:
OBLIGATORY USE OF MASKS: Persons age 6 and over are obligated to use masks in the following scenarios
- In any enclosed area of public use or that is open to the public
- In any open-air area of public use or that is open to the public
- In air, sea, road or railway travel to include stations, ports and docks. The same applies when travelling in private vehicles if the occupants do not reside under the same roof. The only exception is when travelling by sea and passengers retire to their cabins
EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE
- Persons who present with illnesses or respiratory difficulties that could be aggravated by the use of masks or those who due to disabilities or dependency are unable to remove their masks themselves. The same applies to those who present with behavioural disorders that are incompatible with obligatory use of masks
- Activities that by nature are incompatible with obligatory use of masks in line with Health Department regulations
- In those enclosed places or areas of public use that form part of a group residence or institution. This only applies to its residents and not to visitors or staff who must wear masks at all times
- Outside when practicing individual sports activities or non-sport activities in natural areas (in the country) and maintaining the minimum 1,5 metre safety distance between persons who do not reside together
- As a health and hygiene note, care must be taken when buying masks that are not packaged individually as this may only be done at chemists where proper hygiene can be guaranteed as well as quality control of the product
Due to the sudden increase of cases throughout Spanish territory, the Government is allowing retired health professionals and those with qualifications outside of the EU to practice medicine to reinforce the current workforce.