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Spanish minister of health Carolina Darias has announced that the cabinet meeting of Tuesday 7th February will approve an end to compulsory face masks on public transport. In a media conference this Thursday, Darias released the news that she will propose the withdrawal of the current requirement to wear a mask on the metro, buses, trains and in taxis at a meeting of Spain's Interterritorial Health Council next week and will then raise it to the weekly meeting of the Spanish government the following week. From there, the lifting of the obligation will come into force when it is published in the Official State Gazette (BOE), most likely the following day. Darias remarked that the decision is being taken in line with expert criteria and given the current epidemiological situation, which is "very stable". The head of the Spanish health ministry specified that masks will continue to be mandatory in health and socio-health centres.

Precisely this Wednesday, epidemiologist Fernando Simón had already stated that "shortly" the use of masks on public transport would no longer be mandatory. At a round table meeting that took place in Zaragoza, the director of Spain's Centre for Coordination and Health Alerts revealed that the proposals "are already on the table". He admitted that the situation in China in recent weeks "complicates the decision a bit", but already predicted that it would be next week or the week after.

Meanwhile, levels of both flu and Covid-19 continue to decline in Catalonia in the last week of January. According to data from the SiViC official system, updated this Tuesday, primary care has diagnosed 1,448 new cases of Covid-19, compared to 2,067 the previous week. There are 384 people admitted to hospital with coronavirus (467 the previous week) and 21 in the ICU for Covid-19 (24 the previous week). Sequencing results show that the most common variant of Covid-19 is the BQ1 omicron variety. Levels of bronchiolitis are also maintaining their decline.

The rate of new cases per 100,000 population has dropped from 27 to 19. The figure of 384 Covid patients admitted to hospital is 83 fewer than the previous week. Regarding deaths, the Catalan health department has stopped reporting deaths attributable to coronavirus as it had been doing until now.


Cases of Covid-19 are falling in China

This Wednesday, the Chinese government has published a new assessment of the impact of Covid-19. The new study points to a significant fall in the number of cases. In fact, the decline in the numbers of serious cases is over 70%. This could be one of the reasons that has convinced the Spanish ministry to allow the mask mandate on public transport to end. The credibility of maintaining a measure whose compliance levels have fallen drastically in recent months on some forms of Spanish public transport may also have been a factor.