The Alerts Report of the Ministry of Health, in which technicians from all the autonomous communities participate, has been listing for weeks an update of the coordinated response actions, known as “Health traffic light”, which tightens the measures to be taken according to the incidence of COVID-19, but that has not yet been ratified. The new version updates the current one, which was approved on October 22, and mainly hardens the common measures that all the Communities must take from the “high” and “very high” alert level, that is, those associated with between 150 and 250 cases of accumulated incidence at 14 days in the first case and more than 250 cases of incidence in the second.
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At level 3, which corresponds to the “high” risk and is activated between 150 and 250 cases, the document, to which elDiario.es has had access, obliges the “suppression of the service in interior areas of the” hospitality establishments. . The difference is that the document of October 22 left it in the hands of the Communities: “The health authority must assess the closure of the interior areas of the establishments, and failing that, reduce the capacity to the minimum possible and prohibit consumption in bar “, it was affirmed then. Level 4 required a maximum of four people per table.
The new version of the document was approved on March 3 in the Conference and the technicians have been working on it since December, report sources familiar with the elaboration, but the Ministry of Health (now captained by Carolina Darias and in December, Salvador Illa) is still It has not taken it either to the Public Health Commission – it is scheduled to do so this Thursday -, the body above the Report, nor to the Interterritorial Council, which brings together the regional councilors and the minister. That is, it did not arrive in time for Christmas, as was the first intention, according to those sources, and it will not arrive at Easter either. But the Ministry’s technicians have continued to develop it and its final version, already approved, was sent by the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies to all members of the Conference on March 10.
The Interterritorial Council of this Wednesday, where finally The restrictions for Easter have not been tightened Despite the upturn in cases, it has not addressed the matter. After the meeting, Minister Darias has indicated that the Public Health Commission, in which representatives of the Ministry and the communities participate, will address this Thursday the update of the “traffic light”. It will be at a time when concern grows after one week of continuous increase in incidence rate which can trigger a fourth wave.
The document follows the mechanism of its previous version. Add other epidemiological indicators to the 14-day incidence indicators: cumulative incidence at 7 days, incidence among those over 65, positivity and percentage of cases traced. And it crosses them with two health care: hospital occupation in conventional beds and in ICU. Putting it at one alert level or another (also “low” and medium “) depends on meeting two of the indexes of the first and at least one of the second.” It is important to emphasize that no indicator by itself is capable of giving a complete vision of the epidemiological situation “, recall the technicians in the text. And the measures according to the level can be applied to an autonomous community, province, island, municipality, department, health area, basic health zone or equivalent.
Interior closure of the hotel trade and capacity control abroad
This new update of the document to be ratified does not force the closure of the entire hospitality industry at level 3: it allows the exterior to remain at a maximum occupancy of 75%, “with separate and seated groups of clients, subject to the conditions of meetings ( 6 persons)”. At alert level 4, with 250 cases of incidence, it leaves the “foreign capacity at 50% and time limits”; and “if the trend is upward and exceeds 500 cases per 100,000, closure of the establishment, allowing only the collection and delivery service for home consumption.” Currently, Asturias (160), Catalunya (173), Navarra (185), Euskadi (201), Madrid (225), Ceuta (256) and Melilla (523) are above 150 in incidence at 14 days.
The new version approved in the Presentation details what the “very high” level of risk consists of –the one that exceeds the incidence of 250 cases–. The previous one was limited to saying that “in addition to the actions of level 3, it will involve the taking of exceptional measures that may include additional restrictions”, some under the umbrella of the state of alarm. In practice, during these months of state of alarm and with the current document, there have been no concrete measures associated with a “very high” level of risk. But most of the communities have applied policies similar to those described: the one that has refused to, among other measures, close the hotel business in all cases has been Madrid, which it has also dragged the worst data during the three waves of 2020-2021.
Among the details added in the version of March 3, at a “very high” level, it would be necessary to go to “telematic teaching” in academies and other non-regulated training centers; “postpone any type of ceremony” in relation to weddings or baptisms; suspend activities inside gyms for all non-professional sports; and limit the hours of non-essential shops, “if the trend is upward and exceeds 500 cases per 100,000: closure of non-essential commercial premises and markets”.