There has been a surge in respiratory infections in Spain, including COVID-19 and flu GetYourGuide

Several hotspots across Spain have reportedly re-introduced mask-wearing rules due to the country's rising number of COVID and other respiratory infections.

Although the Spanish government hasn't yet made any official announcement about a return of mask-wearing rules, some regions such as Valencia have re-introduced masks in hospitals in certain circumstances.

Apart from Valencia, face masks have become compulsory in hospitals and health centres in other popular regions in Spain such as Catalonia and Murcia as the winter surge of COVID, influenza and flu is getting out of control, according to reports in local media.

In Catalonia, people have to wear face masks in hospitals, outpatient clinics and social and health centres. The regional government is also expected to ask the National Ministry of Health to reactivate automatic sick leave, as in the time of the COVID pandemic.

Meanwhile, the face mask rules in Murcia will apply in hospitals, health centres, primary care emergency services and clinics in the region. The regional minister of Health, Juan José Pedreño, said, "with this measure, we want to protect all patients and professionals. We also encourage people to wear a mask in any area when they have symptoms of suffering from a respiratory illness, to avoid infecting other people".

Valencia is currently reporting a rate of 1,501 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The health authorities in Spain will begin to provide vaccination against flu and COVID-19 starting Monday. Patients will not need an appointment for this vaccination.

The authorities in Valencia have urged people to wear masks in the following situations:

  • Symptomatic people when in shared spaces
  • Professionals who care for symptomatic cases
  • People who work in Intensive Care Units and Units with Vulnerable Patients
  • In hospital or primary care emergencies
  • In places where patients and families are concentrated (Primary Care waiting rooms, hospital consultations etc)

It has also been reported that Spain's hospitals and health centres are filling up soon, with patients left lying in corridors or waiting hours for treatment.

Spain was among the last European countries to drop the face mask rules following the COVID-19 pandemic. People in the country were asked to wear them on public transport until February last year and in health centres and pharmacies until July.

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.