The coalition government yesterday approved in an extraordinary Council of Ministers the royal decree law of the Ministry of Health with the return of the mandatory use of masks outdoors (except for some exceptions such as playing sports, being in the field and with a distance of one meter and medium), as well as with the new measures announced by the Chief Executive, Pedro Sanchez, to face the sixth wave of Covid-19.
The royal decree law approved yesterday modifies a rule in force, it is about 2/2021 of March 29, and will have to be validated in the Congress of Deputies within 30 days. However, as the Minister of Health explained yesterday, Carolina Darias, the text also introduces a additional provision With which the Government is empowered to be able to modify the conditions of use of the mask without having to go through the Lower House.
Darías explained that this I would streamline decision-making from now on on the mouth guard in emergency situations and high transmission. However, with this formula the Executive is skipping parliamentary scrutiny. At least when it comes to the use of masks.
This is how the text is worded: «The Government is empowered, by royal decree, at the proposal of the head of the Ministry of Health and heard by the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System, to modify the mandatory use of the mask in the cases provided for in paragraphs 1 and 2 of article 6 when appropriate health circumstances so advise it. That is, to delete the measure or modify it faster.
Point 1 of article 6 refers to the compulsory use of masks in persons aged six years and over and point 2 raises the exceptions.
The Minister Spokesperson, Isabel rodriguez, and the Health Ministry yesterday justified the recovery of this prevention instrument in the press conference after the cabinet meeting after strong criticism from the opposition and partners. The Summit of Presidents held online on Wednesday was not satisfactory for a large part of the regional leaders, who have already announced preventive measures on their part. Catalonia, Aragon, Murcia, Basque Country, Extremadura, Balearic Islands, Andalusia …, yesterday rushed to announce restrictive measures to curb the exponential growth of coronavirus cases in the middle of Christmas.
«What the Government has done with the communities is to convince themselves of the use of masks abroad, we are witnessing greater interaction and mobility and many agglomerations in the vast majority of cities for the dates in which we are, the masks avoid that spread by aerosols, “he defended. Aware of the discomfort caused by the news, the head of Health stressed that it is about a “temporary measure” until the “situation improves.” The cumulative incidence is 784 cases per 100,000 inhabitants (very high risk of transmission). Data from the day before yesterday.
Criticisms and doubts
The reactions of the parties have not been good either. The PP assures that the Government “is not doing anything” and sends a message of confusion. “It is a pure matter of political marketing”, He said Ana Pastor, Deputy Secretary for Social Policy of the Popular Party. The spokesperson for Ciudadanos, Edmundo bal, speaks of the “total uselessness” of the measure. Bildu says that it “contributes little and confuses a lot.” And Vox campaigns on Twitter to avoid wearing a mask.
“Yes, the scientists support it, we have different scientific studies from different countries, such as the United States or Germany, that speak of the relationship between the spread of aerosols and the role of masks to stop these infections,” Darias responded to the journalists. «In the latest report from the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES) on the Ómicron variant, a series of recommendations is established that say that given its expansion and high transmissibility, it is necessary to comply with the control of non-pharmacological measures like the proper use of masks, “he continued.
Scientists believe that the return of masks to the streets is an “absurd” decision and that it is rather part of a “political theater” that will contribute to increasing pandemic fatigue among citizens.