“Without a doubt, the combination of wearing masks and the rapid vaccination program has lowered the coronavirus infection rate in Spain.”
As the UK has been warned by a government adviser to start wearing masks again to stop the spread of Covid-19, flu and colds across the Channel this winter, EU states are generally looking to put on face covers to combat the pandemic.
Susan Michie, a member of the Sage Scientific Advisory Board, criticized ministers for failing to enforce the wearing of masks in crowded indoor spaces, saying face coverings are vital in keeping people out of health care during the winter.
Here are the rules and settings for wearing face masks in four EU countries.
Spaniards must cover their face if they are indoors or if they cannot guarantee a social distance of more than 1.5 meters. There has been no mask requirement since June, but many people still wear them.
Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said last week that indoor mask restrictions would remain in place through next spring despite a decline in coronavirus infection rates.
Spain’s 14-day Covid-19 infection rate fell to 46 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Health – the lowest level since July 2020.
Around 77 percent of the population are fully vaccinated. The decline in the infection rate coupled with the success of the vaccination program has led to the reopening of discos and sports stadiums with no capacity restrictions.
“Without a doubt, the combination of wearing masks and the rapid vaccination program has reduced the rate of coronavirus infection in Spain,” said Àlex Arenas, public health expert at the University of Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona I.
“It is the most efficient and cheapest way to fight the pandemic. People have a habit of wearing masks outside and inside. “
He added that research has shown that “once people stop doing things like wearing masks, it’s hard to get them to come back.”
France lifted the requirement to wear a face mask outdoors in October, but it is still mandatory to cover your face inside.
Most people obey the law when going to supermarkets, bars, or gatherings, but anecdotal evidence shows that few wear face covers outside.
Last week, armed French police boarded a Eurostar heading for London and arrested a British passenger after a train manager accused him of wearing the “wrong type of mask”.
The unidentified man, who was taken off the train after it had made an emergency stop in Lille, northern France, protested that he had done nothing wrong.
A poll published earlier this month for The Parisian Newspaper showed that 74 percent of French workers want the government to lift the enforcement of wearing masks inside, but the Ministry of Health says it is too early.
Currently, the wearing of masks is mandatory in all workplaces where workers are indoors and more than one person is transported in work vehicles at a time. Masks are not necessary in outdoor workshops unless there is insufficient ventilation.
There has been no mask requirement since the summer and only a minority cover their face in open areas, but the law still requires Italians to wear them indoors.
“I would say only 20 percent of people wear masks outside. People attract them when they approach crowded areas, ”says Luca Zanini, journalist at Corriere della Sella Newspaper based in Rome, tells I.
Companies warned of chaos in Italy as all workers must present a coronavirus passport from Friday – one of the toughest anti-Covid-19 measures in the world that has sparked riot.
More than 85 percent of Italians over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, which makes them eligible for the Green Pass certificate.
But polls suggest that around 2.5 million of the 23 million Italians are unvaccinated and may not be able to get a job by October 15.
Wearing masks in shops and on public transport is compulsory, but wearing masks outdoors has never been a legal requirement.
At the height of the pandemic, most people wore masks when going out, but now the majority of the population has gotten rid of face coverings outside. In offices, workers still wear masks but can remove the covers when they are at their desks.
The Irish government will lift the last Covid-19 restrictions on October 22nd, but mask requirements remain across the border in Northern Ireland as well as Scotland and Wales.