the South is left alone with its indoor use

On May 20, 2020, the government approved the decree-law by which masks began to be compulsory due to the health crisis caused by covid. 23 months and six waves later, masks are about to make history. Of course, Spain will be one of the last countries, with Portugal, Greece and Italy (which plan to be phased out in May), to get rid of them.

This week, the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, announced the end of indoor masks – with exceptions. Thus, on April 20, after Easter, we will be able to get rid – at least for now – of this accessory that has been one of the most emblematic measures of the pandemic.

However, this decision, which comes almost two years after the first law which made it compulsory for the population over the age of six, has already been implemented for weeks or even months in some of the main European countries. despite a much higher cumulative incidence than Spainwhere AI has been prowling around 450 cases for weeks.

Incident triggered and without mask

Franceone of the last countries to come out of the mask, presented the same day of its withdrawal -March 14- an AI of 1,191 infections. Germanywhere you can now shop without it, records a very high rate of covid and the cumulative incidence in seven days amounts to 1,394 new infections.

In fact, except Sweden -with a 14-day AI of 283 cases- the majority of countries that left their citizens without masks for weeks now have a much higher incidence than Spain. The most significant case is that of The Netherlandswhere the day the use of the mask was abolished – February 15 – contaminations rebounded beyond 7,000 per 100,000 inhabitants. Denmark Yes Norway They also decided to say goodbye to the face mask with exorbitant incidences, both around 3,000 infections. Yes Finland exceeded 1,000 on the last day of its mandatory use.

Thus, Spain, together with Italy (1,644), Greece (2,581) and Portugal (1,651), will be one of the last countries to remove this measure on April 20, despite the fact that our country leads vaccination in Europe (92.5%)the occupation of intensive care beds by COVID patients does not reach 5% and the cumulative incidence has stagnated for a week in the 400 cases.

Image: PE

Up to 15 European countries, without mask inside

Thus, after the number of cases in Europe has started to fall again in recent weeks after a rebound in early March, up to 15 European countries in total have announced since January 27 the end of this measure or its relaxation in certain situations to control the pandemic and leave it behind as soon as possible.

UK was the first to outrun this pandemic plugin. On January 27 (with an incidence of around 2,000 cases), it eliminated essential restrictions against covid-19 and despite its record number of infections – last week more than 79,000 were reported, according to the Office for National Statistics – the government does not plan to return.

Swiss it abolished it on April 1 with 2,749 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days; to like Hungary, Poland Yes Romania, although in these three countries the AI ​​has not exceeded 400 points in recent weeks and the trend is downward. And in Belgiumwith an incidence that exceeded 700 on April 8, when it was suppressed, it now exceeds 1,200 cases and considers the pandemic to be over.

Ireland and Iceland They would also have given up the mask before Spain.

“Caution and Responsibility”

The date of the removal of the mask indoors has divided the autonomous communities. While Andalusia asks to wait “a few months”, Madrid demanded a month ago to withdraw it and Catalonia has gone a step further and threatens the government to unilaterally withdraw indoor masks before Easter.

However, the technicians agree that, in a first phase, the garment must continue used in health centers, residences and public transport. There is also a consensus that they should disappear in schools, starting with the smallest ones, but it is not clear whether they should be kept in workspaces.

For their part, the experts consulted by THE OBJECTIVE They urge ‘caution’ and ‘responsibility’ and warn that although the number of hospital and intensive care admissions has fallen, ‘the virus is still circulating’ and we will need to be ‘very careful to see what happens”. “The only thing is to recommend that people of a certain age or otherwise vulnerable to continue wearing it,” they warn.

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