He Executive of Pedro Sánchez didn’t see the coming coronavirus, which has already caused more than 41,000 deaths in Spain, despite the fact that, since 2017, the current National Security Strategy warned of the challenge of a pandemic. Instead, in a written response in Congress, Moncloa highlights that, in compliance with that Strategy, a guide on the “Tick bites”, among other issues that have nothing to do with the Covid-19 crisis.
As usual in its response to written control questions, the Executive avoids any self-criticism and avoids admitting that it did not prepare for a pandemic like the current one. Instead, it takes a long detour: it exposes the different approved plans, decisions and protocols, but avoiding any mention of the coronavirus crisis, despite being the subject of the question.
The National Security Strategy urged the development of preparedness plans “in the face of health challenges” like a pandemic
In that question, the ERC deputy, Joan Josep Nuet, sought to know the actions carried out by the Government to anticipate the coronavirus pandemic, within the framework of the National Security Strategy.
Specific, “when the preparedness and response plans were last reviewed in the face of specific risks »and if« it was done between December 2019 and March 2020 », in addition to whether measures were taken to« guarantee adequate care »to people who entered Spain with high-risk infectious diseases or from countries with cases confirmed.
Possibility of pandemic
In a resounding warning, the National Security Strategy called for “reducing the population’s vulnerability to infectious risks when feasible (eg, through vaccination), the likelihood of introduction of infectious risks (for example, through the control and inspection of goods at the border), as well as the probability of internal transmission of diseases (for example, through good prevention and health promotion programs or good sanitation systems). ” All this, essential «for minimize risks and its possible impact on the population ”.
Even then, National Security saw “it is necessary to reduce the vulnerability of the population and develop preparedness and response plans for health threats and challenges » and insisted that the number of emerging diseases and risk situations it had increased in recent decades. An increase that “has come hand in hand with a rapid global change that is changing the relationship between human beings and their environment” and to which Spain is especially vulnerable: “A country that receives more than 75 million tourists a year, with ports and airports that are among the busiest in the world, a climate that increasingly favors the spread of disease vectors, with an aging population and a polarized geopolitical situation. “
In its response, the Executive avoids any mention of the coronavirus crisis, but instead does boast of the “periodic review and update of the preparedness and response plans” although referring to diseases that currently they present very low risk in Spain.
Thus, the elaboration of the National Ebola Virus Response Plan or the update of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever surveillance protocol stands out. Also, he adds, “the Tick Bite Action Guide was developed, aimed at primary care services”, a procedure for managing Zika virus infection during pregnancy and in newborns, a plan for the eradication of diseases animals, another for wildlife health surveillance or a pig health surveillance program.
The Government also points out, as OKDIARIO reported, that in August 2019, a National Security exercise was approved “in which a scenario of an Ebola epidemic was contemplated.” An exercise that was scheduled to be held in April this year and that had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Executive continues recounting the development of protocols for the entry of animals or merchandise into the country and operations against the trafficking of species. It also presumes that the State Security Forces and Corps have developed protocols for the “possibility of encountering people with some type of infectious contagious disease” or “the updating of the inventory of individual protection equipment of border units and the formation of these units against the Ebola virus “.
In short, not a mention of the current health crisis. The National Security Strategy is not the only document that Sánchez ignored. He even despised his own report, from 2018, in which pandemics appeared as an urgent challenge and therefore it was “important to reinforce the surveillance and control tasks of the external health services as a health authority at the points of entry.” Because “there are certain infrastructures and especially vulnerable areas, such as ports, airports and land borders, in which it is essential to have capacities to detect and react to any health risk.”
In October 2018, just four months after Sánchez arrived in La Moncloa via a motion of censure, his Cabinet director, Iván Redondo, stressed in the Congress of Deputies the importance of “early detection” in the case of pandemics, in addition to the “necessary adequate communication of information”.
Redondo highlighted in his speech the “Anticipatory and forecasting vision” of the strategy and warned about the “complexity of the threats and challenges that we have to face in an interrelated and interconnected world.”