Spain broke its post-lockdown COVID-19 record on Thursday, reporting 7,550 new cases, and several regions are now considering banning smoking in public places to help curb the virus’ spread.
The daily jump more than doubles what was reported on Wednesday, but includes two days’ worth of data from the capital Madrid. It also marks nearly 50,000 COVID-19 infections over the last two weeks.
According to the Health Ministry, 26 more people died and 347 more were hospitalized due to the disease.
With the surge in cases spreading throughout the country, several regions are now considering enforcing smoking bans in public places to curb the viral spread.
The regions of Galicia and the Canary Islands have already decided to forbid smoking on streets and outdoor patios when social distance cannot be kept.
“Various members of our scientific committee agreed that smoking … without enough physical distance is a high-risk activity in terms of infection,” Alberto Nunez Feijoo, the Galician region’s president, told a press conference on Wednesday.
Several experts have come out in support of the smoking bans, but others say it is not backed by scientific evidence.
“Limiting smoking is good for health, but I’m not sure that it makes sense as a measure to control the pandemic,” Usama Bilal, professor of epidemiology at Drexel University, told Spanish digital diary Ok Diario.
“When we choose measures that are not very effective but attract a lot of media attention, we are taking focus away from the measures that do work,” he said, insisting that limiting mobility could be a better measure to curb the virus’ rapid spread.
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