CENTRAL GOVERNMENT PUTS BRAKES ON CANARIES, AND OTHERS, DECONFINEMENT PLANS
“The time is not yet right to talk about de-escalation time scales, but rather to establish what criteria will be taken into account, when deciding how certain containment measures will be lowered in certain areas.”
De-escalation will be an asymmetric process across the country, and not for autonomous communities or regional governments to design their own plan. Moncloa will exclusively take command of de-escalation and will do so in much less haste, than various autonomous communities want. Objective parameters (markers) will measure the capacity of each territory, to be able respond to a possible new outbreak or second wave of the virus, and these will be what dictate the speed or timing of deconfinement.
This is the resounding message that the Executive of Pedro Sánchez delivered to the Interterritorial Health Council yesterday evening, in which the Central Government also made it clear that, “for the moment” and in the short term, it is not “planned” to authorize new de-escalation measures immediately, such as those sought, for example, by the Canary Islands, from this Monday.
The heads of the Executive, said that the job of the technicians is to establish steps with different mobility privileges, to which the different ‘territories’ (not communities) will gain access, as experts verify the degree of compliance with those ‘markers’, so that, although de-escalation is asymmetric, there will be a certain homogeneity between the measures for the relief of confinement. CHILDRENS TIMES OUTSIDE: What is not ‘accepted’, explained the Ministry of Health, is that some communities, such as the Canary Islands, have proposed departure times for children that clash with the rules laid down by the central Executive. “There cannot be many forms of de-escalation with designs chosen by the communities,” announced the advisers of Moncloa.
Other communities such as the Basque Country, Andalusia, Catalonia and Valencia, have already presented concrete plans for the coming weeks in order to reduce confinement. Some ‘roadmaps’ from which Illa and fourth vice president Teresa Ribera, have limited themselves to “taking note” from without validating them at any time, although they have made it clear that the current state of alert does empower the government to ease confinement if they so wish.
“The autonomous communities are going to have a very important role but it is going to be the main government that is going to direct the process,” insisted the Minister of Health, both in Moncloa and before the regional representatives, stressing that the announcements of the different regional executives are nothing more than proposals, but that the Ministry of Health exclusively will be the one with the final word. Furthermore, Moncloa has no intention of delegating, even partially, the power to decide on the mobility of their citizens in the coming weeks to the communities, because “the virus does not understand autonomous borders”.
Salvador Illa reiterated, both at a press conference and to the ministers, that the Central Administration does contemplate an asymmetric de-escalation according to the evolution of the pandemic, but that these relief measures do not have to be taken with the autonomous community as an area of reference, but it will be by territories. In fact, the technicians are studying future relief measures, not yet specified, by province, island, region, or simply municipality, and in some cases, the possibility of applying measures in regions that belong to two autonomous communities is even being studied.
Thus, the message to the councils is that the autonomous governments must slowdown, because the time is not yet right to talk about what de-escalation will be, but rather to “start discussing” what “criteria” they will take into account when deciding how certain containment measures will be lowered in certain areas. MARKERS AND STEPS: The Ministry of Health has the idea of requiring four conditions for de-escalation: a contagion rate below 1 for at least two weeks, less than 50% occupation of ICU beds by Covid-19 patients, a hospitalization rate of coronavirus less than 30% and cumulative incidence rate less than 2% per 100,000 inhabitants.
Also, in order to start de-escalation, the health services in the area must have the ability to perform PCR on all symptomatic patients, performing these tests in mild cases at home or at diagnostic points by appointment.
When these criteria are met for the time period stated, then they will consider a plan of de-escalation for that territory.
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