Spain to scrap mandatory outdoor masks next week


The Spanish government will lift the requirement for people to wear masks outside from next Thursday, Health Minister Carolina Darias has said.

The measure was reinstated in late December to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.

The cabinet plans to approve the change at its weekly meeting scheduled for Tuesday and make it effective two days later, Ms Darias told La SER radio station.

The government “has always said it will only last as long as is strictly necessary”, she said. While contagion rates have been falling for several days, the government considers the situation to have changed, she said.

Over the past two weeks, the incidence rate of Covid-19 has steadily dropped to 2,421 cases per 100,000 people yesterday, from nearly 3,400 in early January.

Despite the surge in cases between November and January with the spread of Omicron, hospital admissions and deaths remain well below those seen in previous waves of the pandemic, largely due to the high vaccination rate in the country. ‘Spain.

Spain’s total death toll from the pandemic stands at 94,040 and the number of cases at 10.2 million.

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In recent weeks, many Spanish regions have taken steps to ease restrictions which have been tightened in the face of Omicron, with the northeastern region of Catalonia abandoning as ineffective the requirement to present a Covid passport to enter the restaurants, bars and gyms.

The region has also dropped a nighttime curfew as well as capacity restrictions on bars and restaurants, and will reopen its nightlife venues on February 11.

Several European countries, including Ireland, have also started rolling back Covid-related restrictions.

Outdoor masks are no longer compulsory in France and the Italian government announced on Wednesday that it would publish a timetable for a gradual phasing out of restrictions.

India’s official Covid death toll tops 500,000

India’s official Covid-19 death toll has topped 500,000, a level some data analysts said was surpassed last year, but which has been obscured by inaccurate surveys and unaccounted deaths. hinterland, where millions of people remain vulnerable to the disease.

The country, which has the fourth highest death toll in the world, recorded 400,000 deaths in July 2021 after the devastating Delta variant outbreak, according to official data. Some believe the numbers were much higher.

“Our study published in the journal Science estimates 3 million Covid deaths in India through mid-2021 using three different databases,” Chinmay Tumbe, assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Health Management, told Reuters. ‘Ahmedabad, co-author of the study.

The Indian government last month dismissed the study as baseless in a notification saying there is a robust birth and death reporting system.

Indian states are recording Covid deaths after collating data from their districts. In recent months, several states have updated death tolls, some under pressure from the nation’s highest court. In most cases, authorities said there were shortcomings due to late registrations and other administrative errors.

India is currently in the midst of a third wave of coronavirus led by the Omicron variant, which some top experts say is already in community transmission, although federal officials say most cases are mild.

Last month, the government relaxed testing standards and told states to drop mandatory testing for contacts of confirmed cases unless they were elderly or battling other conditions. But, with the number of tests falling, the government issued a revised warning circular saying they would miss the spread of the virus.

According to official figures, the total number of Covid infections in India has reached 41.95 million, the second highest in the world behind the United States.

To prevent further outbreaks, the government vaccinated three-quarters of the 939 million eligible adults with the mandatory two-dose regimen.

In the country’s capital, Delhi, as new infections of the Omicron variant fell sharply, authorities further eased restrictions and said they would allow schools and colleges to reopen from Monday and would would allow private offices to be fully staffed.

The city’s sports complexes will also reopen


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