Spain makes masks mandatory in healthcare centres amid flu, COVID peak

MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish Health Minister Monica Garcia made wearing masks mandatory in healthcare centres around the country from Wednesday as the country faces a peak of flu and COVID-19 infections.

“What we have to do is protect the most vulnerable people,” she told reporters. “It’s just common sense.”

The health ministry ordered wearing a mask in hospitals and healthcare centres and recommended masks in private clinics, pharmacies and other medical facilities such as dentist offices.

Several Spanish regions had already ordered patients, visitors and staff at hospitals to wear masks last week. Spain’s central government on Monday proposed extending that requirement nationwide.

The regions will be able to lift the requirement if infections fall for two weeks.

Spain was among the last European countries to drop requirements to wear face masks following the COVID pandemic, with people told to wear them on public transport until February 2023, and in health centres and pharmacies until July.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Emma Pinedo and Jonathan Oatis)