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Spain Considers Mandating Masks In Hospitals As Cases Of Flu, Covid-19 Rise In Europe

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As the flu and COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout Europe, Spain’s government proposed a national law on Monday requiring patients to wear masks in hospitals and clinics. Meanwhile, Italy reported that rates of respiratory illness infections had reached all-time highs.

The flu is spreading as it usually does at this time of year, but it is affecting some countries more severely than others. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control advised people on the continent to stay at home if they feel ill and to think about donning masks in public places or medical settings.

It advised Europeans to abide by national vaccination schedules for susceptible populations. According to the report, the flu is currently more widespread than other common respiratory pathogens, such as the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

Last week, a number of Spanish regions mandated that hospital employees, patients, and visitors wear masks. The regional authorities in charge of health policy in Spain have so far rejected the central government’s proposal to extend that requirement throughout the country, and a decision is anticipated on Wednesday.

According to Garcia, the government has also suggested removing the requirement for a doctor’s note so that people can self-diagnose milder cases and take three days off from work.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Spain was one of the last European nations to remove the requirement that face masks be worn. Until July 2023 people were told to wear face masks in pharmacies and health centres and till February of last year on public transportation.

According to data released by the National Health Institute (ISS), the number of people in Italy experiencing flu-like illnesses, which include both the flu and COVID-19, reached a record high in the final two weeks of 2023, surpassing even the COVID epidemic.

In the 52nd week, there were 17.5 cases per thousand people in Italy, compared to 17.7 cases per thousand people the week before.

According to ISS experts, the increase could be attributed to the fact that fewer people had sought vaccinations this season and that the majority of people were no longer wearing masks. There has been no indication as of yet that the Italian government is thinking of bringing mask mandates back.

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