"We have to be prepared for hard days ahead." With this warning, Spanish health minister Salvador Illa addressed the press and the public this Monday. With the confirmation that Spain has now exceeded 33,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 2,000 deaths, the minister announced that they are expecting to receive 1 million more of the new coronavirus rapid detection kits this week. In the face of a flood of media questions about whether the Spanish government plans to tighten its lockdown restrictions, it has ruled out doing so at present. "The new measure we propose is to continue to comply with the current measures, which are the most drastic in Europe and in the world as a whole," said Illa.
Pedro Sánchez's executive envisages the next days and weeks in three stages: the first is to reach the much-spoken-of peak of contagion; the second to flatten the curve of infection; and the third, to eliminate the virus. To address the situation, however, the Spanish government does not consider it necessary to tighten the lockdown restrictions, as has been requested by several of the country's autonomous communities - including Catalonia, Madrid and Murcia. The argument is that whatever measures are proposed "must be able to be executed". Illa emphasized that "the worst would be for them not to be complied with" and that "proposing measures that can't be carried out" would be useless. Therefore, he insisted that "the best new measure" is for the Spanish to continue to comply with the lockdown orders already issued under Spain's state of alarm.
Rapid detection test
One of the fronts that authorities and healthcare staff are most expectant to open is the arrival of the Covid-19 rapid detection tests to be distributed by the Spanish government. According to the Catalan health minister, they are not expected to arrive in Catalonia until this Thursday. In Madrid, on the other hand, according to Spanish minister Illa, 8,000 were distributed yesterday. The forecast is that, this week, one million more kits will arrive in Spain to be able to supply the hospital centres. However, the Spanish minister has made it clear that it is totally false that his government is blocking the distribution of material.
At the moment, with the current medical supplies, between 15,000 and 20,000 Covid-19 tests are performed across the Spanish state every day. Over the past few days, the health ministry has already delivered 4 million personal protective equipment sets including masks.
Hotels for coronavirus patients
Among the measures promoted by the Pedro Sánchez government is an order to close hotels and tourist establishments. However, Salvador Illa explained that an exception will be made with all those who the governments of the different Spanish autonomous regions designate as centres for use in the effort against coronavirus: "They could be used to lodge medical personnel, for medical visits and consultations, or for hospitalization of virus patients who are only mildly ill."
Also, said Illa, the Spanish executive is committed to guaranteeing the supply of pharmaceuticals and the health and hygiene levels of wastewater.