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The UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has issued a new travel advisory for people heading to Spain in the coming days.

Earlier this week, Spain became the first country across Europe to reintroduce face mask requirements amid the rise in COVID-19 and other respiratory cases, including influenza. The new rules were announced following pressure on hospitals and other health centres.

Despite opposition from most of Spain's 17 autonomous regions, at least six of those have made wearing masks mandatory when entering certain buildings like hospitals and health centres, as per reports in the local media.

However, Spain isn't asking people to wear a mask when out and about in public as yet, even though the ongoing COVID-19 wave in the country is expected to peak in the third week of January.

If a person is travelling to Spain, the FCDO has urged them to refer to the guidance of local authorities in their destination. Mask-wearing rules may vary depending on the location and the UK Foreign Office has said a person must take the right steps in order to protect themselves and others.

"Due to an increase in respiratory infections such as flu and COVID, you may be required to wear a face mask when using healthcare facilities such as doctors' surgeries, hospitals or pharmacies. Specific rules on the use of face masks may vary by region.

"You should refer to the advice of local authorities in your destination and ensure you are aware of the specific measures in place on how best to protect yourself and others," read FCDO's advisory.

The new JN.1 variant has become the most dominant strain of coronavirus on the planet, as more than 10,000 deaths from the virus were logged last month, according to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization director-general.

The latest strain is said to be a mutation from Omicron which ran riot in Christmas 2021. Experts believe the current wave of the virus has been fired up by the new variant along with festive socialising.

It is also being reported that JN.1 could hit an all-time high in the UK in a week's time if numbers of cases continue to rise.

According to the latest epidemiological report by Spain's Carlos III University Health Institute, flu, COVID-19 and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) are circulating widely among the people, with flu most dominant, and babies and the elderly most likely to be hospitalised.

Spain has registered more than 14 million cases and some 120,000 deaths from the coronavirus.