This is a new "gesture barrier" to adopt, in the Spanish region of Galicia : since Thursday 13 August, it is forbidden to smoke in the streets and on the terrace, if a minimum distance of safety of at least two metres between the people is not respected. In the viewfinder of the authorities : prevent people to remove their masks to smoke in public places
The Spanish Society of epidemiology had been asked as early as June of the smoking ban in outside, because " the smokers who are infected and asymptomatic, can release droplets containing the virus and pose a risk to the rest of the population ". Other regions, such as Madrid, Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha, in the centre, and Andalusia, to the south, are studying the possibility of taking the same measure.
This decision for the first time in the country, and apparently in Europe, adds to the proliferation of other measures taken by the regions in the face of the rebound of the Covid-19 in Spain, the highest in western Europe, with nearly 330,000 cases. Several regions have already introduced sub-sections, and have limited the nocturnal activities and meetings at least ten people. The mask is mandatory in all of Spain, with the exception of the Canary islands. "If we see that the legislative possibility offered by the Galicia can be adapted, then we will," said Thursday the head of the health authority of the region of Madrid, Enrique Ruiz Escudero.
The doubt of some epidemiologists
The world health Organization (WHO) has reported that smokers may be more susceptible to contamination and increase the risk of transmission of the virus, smoking, involving touching of the mouth with the fingers. Although the decision of the region of Galicia has been praised by several epidemiologists, others have questioned its effectiveness. "We still do not have scientific information that is strong enough, which demonstrates that tobacco smoke can transmit the disease in an open environment ( ... ), therefore, take measures as extreme as a ban, I think it is a little disproportionate," said to the AFP the Dr. Fernando Garcia, of the national Centre of epidemiology.
The regions are competent in the field of health in Spain, where the coronavirus has made more than 28 000 people dead. Galicia, where converge the pilgrims of santiago de Compostela, has also reduced the rate of store occupancy and increased its testing, but it is not the region most affected with 30 cases per 100 000 inhabitants.
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