Spain's ministers contradict each other over Coronavirus as Spanish Army Given Orders

As expected, an announcement has been made today by Salvador Illa, Spanish Health Minister, that Smoking in public places where a 2 metre safe distance cannot be observed is banned across all of Spain.

In an emergency meeting with Health officials from across Spain, he stated “There has been a growing number of outbreaks in recent weeks. All establishments, such as restaurants, will have to close at 1am, with no new patrons allowed to enter from midnight onward. The government is closing nightclubs and nighttime bars across Spain in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus. I am announcing that, for the first time, we have decided to adopt coordinated actions in terms of public health and that these measures have been adopted unanimously”

The previous day on Thursday Spain reported 2,953 new infections. This along with previous days is the highest infection rates since April of this year.

Restaurants and Bars need to maintain 1.5 metres safe distance between customers and a maximum of 10 diners in eating establishments.

Care home procedures are being stepped up with new arrivals, and staff returning from holidays subject to PCR testing. Also a maximum of one person visiting per resident per hour. Exceptions would be made for residents who are “nearing the end of their lives”

Illa further noted that these new regulations are a minimum requirement and individual regions can impose more restrictive measures if felt to be appropriate.

For Spanish youngsters that enjoy a drink with friends in the street, a “botellón”, again this is now prohibited and steep fines will be imposed.

Following on from Galicia and The Canary Islands, a total ban on Smoking in public is now in effect if a 2 metre safe zone cannot be adhered to.

Illa recommends that “citizens limit their social contact as much as possible, and limit meetings to 10 people, avoiding those from outside the household. However, the situation is not comparable with the one that we had in April, most cases are detected earlier and are not as serious among younger people. But, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be concerned”

With children due to return to schools and colleges in September, the decision to proceed with this is again left at the discretion of each region. “There have been a number of regional ministers who have expressed their desire to share the measures that they are taking. With regard to this morning’s meeting, ministry had produced a guide with steps that should be taken and that the government had provided €2 billion of extra funding to the regions.”

(See below for translation)

Medidas obligatorias:

  1. Se decreta el cierre de las discotecas, salas de baile y bares de copas -con y sin actuaciones musicales en directo- en todo el territorio.
  2. En restauración y hostelería se debe garantizar la distancia interpersonal mínima de 1,5 metros en los servicios de barra y entre las mesas.
  3. Como máximo solo puede haber 10 personas por mesa o agrupación de mesas en bares y restaurantes.
  4. El horario de cierre en hostelería y restauración será la 1 de la madrugada y no se podrán aceptar nuevos clientes a partir de las 12 de la noche.
  5. En las residencias de mayores será obligatorio realizar PCR a todos los nuevos ingresos y a los empleados que regresen de vacaciones.
  6. Se restringirán las visitas en los centros de mayores a una por residente y máximo de una hora al día. Hay que garantizar que las visitas estén escalonadas a lo largo del día para evitar aglomeraciones. Sanidad contempla una excepción para los pacientes que se encuentren en el momento final de su vida.
  7. Limitación al máximo de las salidas de los residentes.
  8. En los eventos y actividades multitudinarias, se establece la obligatoriedad de que la autoridad sanitaria haga una evaluación de riesgo.
  9. Obligación de hacer cribados con PCR a grupos específicos en el caso de que haya un brote epidémico. Habrá que hacer cribados a poblaciones de riesgo en base al brote: el ministro Salvador Illa ha puesto como ejemplo los centros sociosanitarios, determinados barrios o en centros educativos.
  10. Recordatorio de que el botellón está prohibido: no se puede tomar alcohol en la vía pública y deben aplicarse las sanciones que tenga que cada ayuntamiento o comunidad.
  11. Se prohíbe fumar (tanto tabaco como con dispositivos electrónicos) en la vía pública o espacios al aire libre cuando no se pueda respetar una distancia mínima de 2 metros.

Recomendaciones:

  1. Sanidad recomienda a la ciudadanía que limite los encuentros sociales a sus grupos de convivencia estables. Es preferible limitar al máximo los contactos con quienes sean de fuera de estos grupos.
  2. Limitar los encuentros sociales a un máximo de 10 personas.
  3. En el caso de las residencias, hacer pruebas PCR de cribado de forma periódica.
  4. Recordatorio a las comunidades:
  5. Es necesario disponer de todos los medios y capacidades acordados entre el Ministerio y las comunidades en su día: capacidades de detección precoz, vigilancia y seguimiento de casos, sistema sanitario.

English translation

Mandatory measures:

  1. The closure of discos, dance halls and cocktail bars – with and without live musical performances – is decreed throughout the territory.
  2. In restaurants and hotels, a minimum interpersonal distance of 1.5 meters must be guaranteed in the bar services and between tables.
  3. There can only be a maximum of 10 people per table or grouping of tables in bars and restaurants.
  4. The closing time in hotels and restaurants will be 1 in the morning and new customers will not be able to be accepted after 12 at night.
  5. In nursing homes, it will be mandatory to carry out PCR on all new entrants and employees returning from vacation.
  6. Visits in senior centers will be restricted to one per resident and a maximum of one hour a day. It is necessary to guarantee that the visits are staggered throughout the day to avoid crowds. Health provides an exception for patients who are at the end of their life.
  7. Limitation to the maximum of the exits of the residents.
  8. In mass events and activities, it is mandatory for the health authority to carry out a risk assessment.
  9. Obligation to screen specific groups with PCR in the event of an epidemic outbreak. It will be necessary to screen populations at risk based on the outbreak: Minister Salvador Illa has given as an example the social health centers, certain neighborhoods or educational centers.
  10. Reminder that drinking in the street is prohibited: you cannot drink alcohol on public roads and the sanctions that each council or community has to apply must be applied.
  11. Smoking (both tobacco and electronic devices) is prohibited on public roads or outdoors when a minimum distance of 2 meters cannot be respected.


Recommendations:

  1. Health recommends citizens to limit social encounters to their stable coexistence groups. It is preferable to limit contacts with those outside of these groups as much as possible.
  2. Limit social gatherings to a maximum of 10 people.
  3. In the case of residences, carry out screening PCR tests periodically.

    Reminder to communities:

  4. It is necessary to have all the means and capacities agreed between the Ministry and the communities in their day: capacities for early detection, surveillance and monitoring of cases, the health system.

Madrid has additionally announced free testing in high infection areas such as Carabanchel, Usera, Villaverde and Puente de Vallecas, and the municipalities of Alcobendas and Móstoles.

The aim of the testing program is to try to detect earlier carriers of the virus that are unknowingly spreading it. People in the 15-49 year old age group will be randomly selected for a free PCR test, contacted by SMS. Madrid aims to perform 1000 tests a day with results available within 48 hours.


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