Recognised surgical masks to be handed out at health centres. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

The Satse nursing union has called on regional health authorities to enable health centres to give out surgical masks to anyone going to them. Satse said yesterday that masks, whether reusable (made of cloth) or non-reusable (cellulose), must have high filtering capacity and meet quality standards. Otherwise, there is a clear risk of contagion. The national ministry for consumer affairs announced on Thursday that there are to be tougher requirements for the sale of masks and that only those tested by accredited laboratories will be for sale.

The union argues that at first glance it is not easy to establish that someone going to a health centre or hospital is wearing a properly approved mask. The best way to avoid risk of contagion is therefore to provide masks.

“Most people are very aware of the need to use appropriate masks, but ignorance or misuse can lead to situations where health workers and others can be exposed to possible infection. This can be avoided.”

Some health centres have already opted to give out surgical masks, and Satse cannot see any “financial or organisational” reasons why this cannot be done for all health centres. The union is also insisting that health workers are supplied with FFP2 masks, noting that some 123,000 health professionals have been infected since the start of the pandemic.

Spain has also approved the use of transparent face masks so that deaf people and those hard of hearing can read lips and understand facial expressions.

According to Spain’s National Statistics Institute, there are over one million people in the country who are either deaf or hard of hearing. As of now, all residents are required to wear masks outdoors and in public spaces across Spain.