Madrid’s bid to move into Phase 1 of Spain’s lockdown de-escalation on Monday has been rejected by the Ministry of Health this afternoon.
MINISTER of Health, Salvador Illa, confirmed the refusal to move from Phase zero is based exclusively on sanitary criteria.
The Community of Madrid claimed that since April there has been an 84 per cent decrease in the number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients and a 64 per cent decrease in the number of ICU admissions.
But sources from the Ministry of Health said it is preferable to begin the de-escalation when the detection system of Madrid’s primary care is more established.
For a province to move to Phase 1, the Department of Health requires that it has two ICU beds per 10,000 of the population in operation and between 37 and 40 acute beds per 10,000 of the population.
Madrid should therefore have 1,400 ICU beds and 24,750 acute beds, but currently has 1,350 and 17,000, respectively.
The decision is a further blow for President of the Madrid Community, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, after Thursday’s resignation of Director of Public Health, Yolanda Fuentes, who considered that Madrid was not prepared to advance from Phase 1.
Diaz Ayuso reportedly said herself yesterday morning that Madrid was not ready, but seemingly changed her mind throughout the day after talking to the business sector.
She told Telecinco: “I would also have been the first to have waited, but it is true that, as I have met with different economic sectors, which are those that raise the economy, those that employ, and also seeing the situation we have with the most vulnerable families and seeing that the ICUs could also be stretched, we have made the decision that had to be taken.”
Madrid’s request to move to Phase 1 was submitted after the deadline, at 10pm Thursday night.
The signatory of the petition, Madrid’s Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, argued this morning in the Madrid Assembly that the community met the requirements, but the Health Department did not agree with him.
Salvador Illa pointed out that the number of infections and deaths from coronavirus has risen in the last 24 hours in Madrid, with 48 deaths recorded, 10 more than on Thursday (8,552 in total) and 148 infections, nearly double the previous day, taking the total to 64,333.