The Communidades of Galicia and Canary Islands have banned smoking in public as concern mounts over its role in spreading the risk of the Covid-19 virus.
Both Juntas have issued decrees banning smoking in any public places if social distancing is not possible.
The north-western region was the first to introduce the measure, followed by the Canary Islands today with others including Castilla La Mancha and Castilla y Leon expected to follow whilst Madrid and Andalucia are believed to be apraising the ban.
The Spanish health ministry is supporting the move in an attempt and published it´s own findings between the link between smoking and the increased spread of coronavirus based on the risk of smokers projecting droplets – and potentially Covid-19 – when they exhale smoke.
Daily cases have risen from fewer than 150 in June to an average of more than 1,500 in August. The Spanish Health Ministry released the latest figures covering the coronavirus crisis, announcing that 3,172 new cases had been reported by the country’s regions. Of those, 1,690 had been diagnosed in the last 24 hours.
The Madrid data shows that new coronavirus infections doubled from Tuesday to Wednesday to 654 cases which increased again to 720 in the last 24 hours. However only 4 deaths have been reported suggesting that the impact of the virus is far less than in March and April.
Despite the surge in cases the death rate remains low with a total of 65 Covid-19 registered fatalities in the last seven days.
The ministry´s research also highlights the wider negative health effects of smoking. “It has been proven that tobacco use, in any of its forms, worsens the course of respiratory diseases,” it reports.
“Smoking with no limits… with people close by and without any social distancing [poses] a high risk of infection,” regional President Alberto Núñez Feijóo told the press conference on Wednesday.
“We know that this is an unpopular measure for smokers,” added Alberto Fernández Villar, a member of the clinical committee advising government, according to the El País newspaper. “But I believe we are in an exceptional situation.”It justified the ban on health grounds based on advice from its own medical experts as well as from the World Health Organization (WHO).
To date Spain has registered 376,864 Covid-19 cases and 28,479 deaths.