- “This is the first time in democracy that coordinated measures have been formally declared in the field of Health that will be adopted jointly by all autonomous communities and cities,” highlighted the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa as he announced the closure of all Nightlife venues in Spain
August 14, 2020.- Spain’s Ministry of Health, along with every autonomous community in Spain have today unanimously agreed, during an extraordinary Interterritorial Council meeting, called today, to coordinate a series of Public Health measures to counter the nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases. Specifically, eleven control measures in seven different areas, three recommendations and an indication of observance of the aspects included in the “Early Response Plan during a COVID-19 pandemic control scenario.”
“There has been a growing number of outbreaks in recent weeks,” said Health Minister, Salvador Illa, at a press conference on Friday morning. “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.”
“This is the first time in democracy that coordinated measures in the field of Health have been formally declared that will be adopted jointly by all the autonomous communities and cities,” said Health Minister, Salvador Illa, who has added that “this shows once again the shared and coordinated work that we have been doing, since the beginning of the pandemic, to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and protect the health of all citizens, who I want to thank all the autonomous communities ”.
These measures, including the closure of all Nightlife venues in Spain focus on the control of transmission where the origin of the epidemic outbreaks has the greatest impact and risk, and on measures that can control community transmission associated with these outbreaks detected through the National Epidemiological Surveillance Network.
Nightlife venues in Spain are currently the origin of those epidemic outbreaks with the highest numbers of associated cases and these outbreaks are also the origin of a large part of current community transmission and of cases in several Autonomous Communities.
All Nightlife venues in Spain discos, dance halls and cocktail bars, with and without live musical performances, must now close.
Hotels, restaurants, terraces and beach bars/restaurants, must be able to guarantee minimum interpersonal distances of 1.5 meters in the bar, during service and also between tables, with a maximum of 10 people per table. The closing time of these establishments will be no later than 1:00am and no new customers can be admitted after 00:00 midnight.
Mass events due to being of a planned nature, must have a risk assessment carried out by the health authority, in accordance with the provisions of the published document “Recommendations for mass events and activities in the context of the new normality due to Covid-19 in Spain”, agreed upon in the National Health System Interterritorial Council Public Health Commission. Based on this evaluation, each event must have the authorisation of the autonomous community.
Care homes and health centres
Social health centres have been seeing the greatest increase in outbreaks detected in recent weeks, and given that residents are the highest priority vulnerable group, in terms of risk reduction measures, they are the focus of another three of the agreed measures.
PCR tests are to be carried out on all new admissions to residential social health centres, a maximum of 72 hours in advance. Tests will also be carried out on employees who return from leave and vacations, and on new workers who join.
Visits will be limited to one person per resident, taking extreme prevention measures, for a maximum duration of one hour a day. With visits staggered throughout the day. These measures may be excepted in the case of people who are at end of life. Residents will be restricted, as much as possible, from leaving the facilities.
Salvador Illa expressed gratitude for strict compliance with the measures implemented “especially for the elderly” and sent a message to young people remarking on the importance of being disciplined: “We cannot ignore that the virus is circulating among us and that we must be very rigorous as long as we don’t have a vaccine ”.
In the event of an epidemic outbreak, screening with PCR tests will be carried out on those populations most at risk and potentially exposed (for example: residents in social-health centres, neighbourhoods shown to have community transmission, educational centres, housing blocks affected, vulnerable groups, etc.).
For its part, regarding unauthorised alcohol consumption on public roads, controls will be strengthened to prevent it along with other activities not allowed on public roads. The autonomous communities and municipalities have been instructed to apply corresponding sanctions and fines.
Tobacco and electronic cigarettes users can only be exempted from wearing masks during the consumption of tobacco or electronic cigarettes on public roads or in outdoor spaces, when they maintain a minimum of at least 2m distance from other people.
Health recommendations and capacities
The Interterritorial Council agreement includes three recommendations:
- periodically carry out, and as far as possible at least biweekly, PCR tests on workers at social care and health centres who are in direct contact with residents,
- recommend to the public the limitation of meetings between social groups outside the stable coexistence group
- and at the same time that these meetings are limited to a maximum of 10 people.
The document specifies that the means and capacities of the health systems will be guaranteed to comply with the provisions in the Early Response Plan in a COVID-19 pandemic control scenario.
The Declaration of Coordinated Actions will remain in force until it is expressly revoked by Spain’s Minister of Health, with the prior agreement of the National Health System Interterritorial Council, to include all autonomous communities and cities.