Spain warns face masks and social distancing will last until 2022 due to coronavirus

FACE masks, social distancing and coronavirus measures are likely to remain in place until 2022, experts in Spain have warned.

The restrictions are expected to be enforced until a vaccine can be developed which experts warn will be at least two years.

Currently, regions across Spain have enforced face masks as coronavirus infections spike.

In Catalonia, which includes Barcelona, face masks must be worn at all public spaces including at swimming pools and beaches, while similar rules are in place at Benidorm, Majorca and Ibiza.

Beaches are also enforcing sunbathing zones as well as pre-booked slots and entries to limit capacity, which has led to long queues and resorts even closing.

María Jesús Lamas, director of the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) warned that the average development time for disease vaccines to be rolled out can often take up to a decade.

However, she was positive that a coronavirus vaccine could be developed by 2022, adding: "There is data to ensure that we will have an effective and safe vaccine."

She also said it would need to "scale up production to a level never seen before" to ensure at least five billion people receive the vaccination.

Health Minister Salvador Illa previously warned that masks will be mandatory until a cure or vaccine is developed.

He said last month they would "remain in place until we permanently defeat the virus, which is when we have an effective treatment or vaccine against it".

Despite this, tour operators are slashing prices for holiday package deals to encourage Brits to return this summer – easyJet Holidays has seven night deals for less than £200pp while Jet2 have B&B and flight deals from £328pp.

The UK, who is enforcing face masks on public transport, as well as shops from tomorrow, is also leading the way in regard to a vaccine.

Developed by Oxford University, scientists claim it may offer a “double defence” against Covid-19.

Phase one of the human trials into the potentially-life saving jab have shown that it generates an immune response against the virus.

While the results are “extremely promising”, they did not yet provide whether the vaccine would provide long-lasting immunity to the virus.

Sources said: “I can tell you that we now know the Oxford vaccine covers both bases – it produces both a T cell and an antibody response."

Brits could face quarantining after a Spanish holiday again after a spike in cases raises concerns regarding its position as a "safe" country.

Spain has been hit by 200 separate coronavirus outbreaks since the easing of lockdown.

Recent outbreaks have been traced to a beach in Barcelona, a Red Cross centre in Malaga and an Iberia Express flight from Madrid to Vigo.

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