Salvador Illa, Health Minister

Salvador Illa, Health Minister

03-04-2020J.J. Guillén

The Health Minister, Salvador Illa, says there is a possibility that people may soon be able to go outside to exercise or take children walking in the streets.

Both measures are being studied as a way to relax the coronavirus restrictions during the State of Emergency in Spain.

At the Health & Consumption Commission Congress for the coronavirus crisis, he spoke about the de-escalation of the strict confinement measures.

“We cannot anticipate future scenarios and this is a very difficult decision to make, not an easy one, because there are very few precedents for what needs to be done. We have the best experts thinking how best to do it and we have to ensure that the virus does not start up again, but right now I can’t anticipate anything because we are still in the preliminary study phase,” said Minister Illa. “I can't promise that they will be put into practice, but we are studying these two things and it will depend how the epidemic evolves this week and next and what the data says,” he admitted.

He also recognises the possibility that a second outbreak may occur within several months.

"We don't know if there will be a new outbreak or not, but we can't rule it out, it will depend on advances in therapies and vaccines, so it’s important to reflect on how we de-scale the confinement measures" he said, “This is not going to have an end day, it’s going to be a process, with a transition period. There will not be a day when we all suddenly return to normal and we must discard the notion that when we do return to normal that we can forget about this virus,” he said.

Minister Illa insists that the Government is focused on "saving human lives" and claimed that the strict measures put in place "are really working.”

He says the Government acted as soon as it could and that when the coronavirus pandemic started, scientific evidence made it clear that introducing restrictive mobility was key, and claims all measures were "in line with the European Authority guidelines."

“On March 12, the ECDC decreed that there was sustained contagion in Europe. That same day we took social distancing measures throughout the country and on the 14th we declared a State of Emergency,” he said.

Minister Illa has also commented on a report from Imperial College London, which pointed out that there were actually seven million people infected in Spain.

“Experts say that, if so, it would not be bad news, because it would mean that a high degree of the population would be immunised,” he said.

The Health Minister is confident that Spain has achieved the "first objective" in the fight against the coronavirus by reaching the peak of the contagion curve, and that the "slowdown phase" of the pandemic is now beginning.

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