Madrid’s Health Minister promises mass vaccination before summer and defends the decision to relax restrictions
It may be hard to believe, but the week beginning February 22 marks the one-year anniversary of when the first positive case of Covid was discovered in the Community of Madrid. Twelve months on, the Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz Escudero spoke with 20Minutos about how he sees the evolution of the pandemic. The Minister has come under fire recently for relaxing restrictions hugely despite the fact that the accumulated incidence remains very high in the capital.
The curfew has been changed from 10pm to 11pm and all bars, restaurants and non-essential businesses are allowed to operate. However, the minister claims that these measures are “strict enough” to contain the spread of the virus.
“With these measures we have detected that there are no outbreaks associated with the hospitality industry or those that exist are practically testimonial. The key is to know who is causing the infections, how they occur and the response care system,” he said.
He added that all the indicators so far are that the cases will continue to drop over the coming days and weeks, and if this happens, the government will look at reducing measures further, including the restriction banning meetings between non-cohabitants.
“We continue to detect that 80.3% of cases occur in the family environment, which indicates that it is still the environment where the measures are most relaxed. This number of infections in homes seems to indicate that we should not relax those measures. You have to see how it behaves these days and from there start making decisions,” the minister said.
Although Mr Ruiz Escudero admitted that the vaccination plan changes in a delay basis depending on how many vaccines are shipped in, he said that recently more have been arriving than expected and so he expects a huge amount of the population to be fully inoculated before the summer months.
“I believe that the end of March or the beginning of April is going to be a decisive moment to increase the vaccination capacity to the maximum,” he said.
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