Travel, vaccines, curfew, bars … the differences between autonomies return on how to manage the pandemic now

The final phase of the pandemic that the Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, anticipated again this Tuesday thanks to the acceleration in the vaccination process will lead to a new stage in which the autonomous communities will have even more weight in the measures they decide to take to stop contagions, which will be accentuated if, as announced on Tuesday, the May 9 the state of alarm finally declines. From then on, the catalog of measures that each community may independently take or request to take will be expanded, but one month before reaching this scenario, the territorial differences on how to cope with the pandemic are beginning to flare up again.

At least, this Wednesday it is expected that an agreement on another issue that threatened to cause disparity of regulations, on the use of the mask by means of a law that was published in the BOE last week and that made it mandatory even for sunbathing or bathing on the beach. Since then, some communities such as the Balearic Islands decided apply your own regulations, more lax, and it is planned that the Interterritorial Health Council set a common criteria this wednesday so that it is only mandatory on the beaches when you are walking or in situations where there is no safety distance. According to the Health draft, it is excluded having to wear it while swimming, practicing sports or during periods of rest in a fixed place, in the sea, in swimming pools and other aquatic spaces. As the vaccination process advances and it is proposed to modify the national framework of the restrictions, territorial differences arise in several directions.

However, as the vaccination process progresses and it is proposed to modify the national framework of restrictions territorial differences arise in various directions.

Vaccination

Castile and Leon has decided this Wednesday to stop vaccination with AstraZeneca until this afternoon the European Medicines Agency (EMA) clarifies whether or not it causes the strange thrombi They have been registered in several countries and have opened a gap with the central government. The first vice president, Carmen Calvo, has reminded this community that has no competencies to decide something like that and that the vaccination process is agreed in the Interterritorial Health Council.

This Wednesday there is a new meeting of this body, which has delayed its start time until the end of the EU Council of Health Ministers, which will debate how to continue immunization with AstraZeneca. It will do so after the EMA announces its conclusions on the relationship of this vaccine and thrombi, which will also be discussed by the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, and the counselors.

Buying vaccines

The purchase and distribution of vaccines It is shaped like a pyramid at the top of which is the European Commission, which negotiates with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of the 27 EU countries after they decide to buy certain brands, up to seven in the case of Spain. Once purchased, the doses are distributed between the Member States and, in the Spanish case, between the communities, depending on the target population that lives in each of them at each moment of vaccination.

Nevertheless, this system is leaking in recent days, related to the nervousness in the face of scarcity dose, which Sánchez tried yesterday to appease by announcing a calendar according to which in July there will be 25 million people vaccinated and at the end of August, 33 million.

The Government of the Community of Madrid explored the possibility of acquiring a vaccine, the russian Sputnik V, which is not yet authorized in the EU and that Health does not consider buying at the moment. The Valencian Community, which already a few weeks ago asked Health to take into account the Russian vaccine, which has made it possible to accelerate vaccination in Latin America or in Serbia, is also speaking on its own with two other pharmaceutical companies, who have informed it of the doses that will reach the Community in the coming months, something that the Ministry of Health has done so far. The Valencian president, Ximo Puig, has explained that he has spoken with AstraZeneca and with Janssen, although in this case not to buy vaccines on their own, but to “receive information”.

Covid passport

In this case, the discrepancy is between the central government and Galicia. Spain is working within the EU to create a digital certificate that allows citizens to travel because they have already been vaccinated or because they prove a negative PCR. It is expected to be ready in June but the president of the Xunta, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has wanted to anticipate announcing for April a similar ‘passport’ With which the Galicians will be able to demonstrate if they have antibodies or a diagnosis that rules out that they have coronavirus. It will be issued by the Galician Health Service (Sergas), according to the Xunta it will be “merely informative” but the idea has not pleased the central government at all.

The Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, reminded Feijóo on Tuesday that the digital certificate on Covid will be a national document and that any initiative of this type must be coordinated with the Executive. I would ask Mr. Feijoó and all those autonomous communities that are coordinated with the Government of Spain“said the minister.

State of alarm

The sole announcement by the central government that it has no intention of extending it beyond May 9 has already caused disagreements with some communities, who believe that tit is still premature to make an announcement like this or they don’t rule out asking to stand up again if the data is still bad.

The President of Andalusia, Juanma Moreno, has regretted this Wednesday that Sánchez did not communicate to the autonomous governments his decision not to prolong the alarm and has missed a meeting of the Conference of Presidents to make these decisions together The spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Mertixell Budor, asked this Tuesday “all possible caution” before ruling out another state of alarm because it will be necessary to see “how the data evolve”.

For her part, the President of Navarra, Maria Chivite, has ensured that not “his pulse will tremble” to ask Sánchez to decree it again if you consider it necessary. He recalled that Navarra and seven other communities already did so in October, following the announcement made by the president in August, that if they considered it necessary, the autonomous governments could ask the central government to decree a state of alarm in their territories.

On the contrary, the Valencian president, Ximo Puig, believes “reasonable“That the state of alarm ends on May 9 because” if there is no substantial change “in infections, communities can manage the pandemic with other instruments.

Movements and meetings

At the heart of the matter, the end of the state of alarm will cause the disappearance of the “umbrella” under which the communities have protected since October the decisions they have taken on the perimeter closure of their territories or to determine how many people can meet both in public and private spaces. With the exception of specific plans for Christmas or Easter, each community has decided on these issues thanks to the fact that there was a state of alarm that prevented, as happened at the end of the summer, the High Courts of Justice from lifting their movement or meeting restrictions.

Night curfew

According to the decree of the second state of alarm, the obligation to be home no later than midnight until six in the morning It is the only measure of a national nature and mandatory for all communities. It will also disappear on May 9 and it remains to be seen if the communities will decide to supplement it with other measures, for example, regulating the closing hours of the hotel business, which is within their powers.

Bars and restaurants

For now, some communities have begun to enact one of the new measures that were introduced in the recent update of the coordinated response plan, based on their epidemiological situation. One of those that stood out the most was the recommendation to close the interior of bars, restaurants and cafeterias when the cumulative incidence reaches 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days. Although they exceed that threshold, the Community of Madrid or Catalonia have not resorted to it as Navarra, Castilla y León have done and Cantabria has also announced.