The Government of the Community of Madrid has sown chaos in the region this Wednesday by announcing, first, that the weekend will confine the areas most affected by the coronavirus, and clarifying, later, that this decision has not been taken. The announcement has left hundreds of thousands of citizens wondering whether they will soon be able to move to work and study, or take their children to school, spurring a preventive flight from potentially affected neighborhoods before the measure takes effect.
With the pending decision of an extraordinary Governing Council that will probably be held this Thursday or Friday, the Executive has seen its foundations so shaken as to suspend a press conference already scheduled, and thus avoid giving details about the plan enunciated to first hour of the day by Antonio Zapatero, his deputy counselor for the covid. “It seems important to us to take a more drastic measure, which is in line with what people can understand as selective confinement by basic health zones or by health areas with more incidence,” the leader advanced on the new measures on Wednesday. With which he proposes to stop the spread of a disease that has already caused 15,920 deaths and 181,924 infected in the region.
With the pandemic unleashed again in Madrid, the president of the Community, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, had as every advance notice of the announcement some WhatsApp messages sent by Zapatero. Thus, the vice councilor presented the new restriction measures, while Ayuso presided over his Governing Council in the Royal Post Office, headquarters of the Madrid Executive. He shock it was total. There is no decision made yet, and there are other possible scenarios, sources of confidence of the president rushed to detail while the meeting of the Madrid leaders lasted for hours without further explanation. A communication disaster that has left citizens mired in uncertainty.
“We must apologize for the uncertainty that the concept of confinement has generated: it scares us because it brings us back to thinking in March or April,” Enrique López, Minister of Justice and one of the advisers closest to Díaz Ayuso, acknowledged in the afternoon. during an interview on the SER network. “Mobility restrictions can be established when the epidemiological situation justifies it, and that is what is not ruled out,” he added, qualifying that the Community does not have powers to decide confinements such as those experienced during the state of alarm. “I call for tranquility,” he indicated, clarifying that citizens may go to work or leave their children at school if the measure is finally activated. “A Community cannot confine people to their homes.”
“The measures to be adopted in the face of the evolution of the covid-19 in the biweekly review are not closed,” explains a government interlocutor, conveying a dryness that summarized the internal swell due to an untimely announcement and whose consequences affect all areas of the life, from work to personal, and from professional to leisure.
Zapatero has not explained which areas or towns could be confined from the weekend. Nor how. Nor on whether this closure will also mean that of schools or hospitality
Even Javier Tebas, the president of the Professional Football League, has had to ask that there be no speculation about how the activation of the project would affect the Madrid teams that will play the next day at home – Getafe, Rayo Vallecano and Alcorcón.
This episode reflects a communication crisis that is later studied in the faculties. Madrid has been in the eye of the hurricane all day for a proposal that has not been approved, and of which its details or application formula are not known, apart from the fact that Deputy Minister Zapatero would apply it based on the basic areas of most affected health – an administrative size referenced to each health center and much smaller than the neighborhood, district or municipality.
Already in the afternoon, in the Health Commission of the Madrid Assembly, the general director of public health Elena Andradas has appeared, and the matter has not been clarified either. Despite the fact that Andradas has intervened for around 40 minutes in several shifts, she has never responded to the insistent questions from the different political groups about concrete measures, deadlines or exact figures on trackers. And it has avoided responding in each round to specific questions about possible “selective confinements”.
Possible measures include, apart from “selective confinement”, increasing the number of ICU beds, further reducing the capacity in shops and hotels, restricting mobility and the reopening of Ifema
The reason? That there are other options in addition to selective confinement on the table, they specified from the Government: among them, announcing an increase in the number of intensive care beds, reducing even more the capacity of shops and hotels – especially indoors – reducing the maximum number of meeting attendees allowed, or restrict mobility.
The areas with the highest incidence
The epidemiological situation in Madrid, in any case, requires more drastic measures, as recognized by all the managers involved. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, published this Wednesday, the cumulative incidence (AI) in the last 14 days in the region is 642.98 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the highest in the entire national territory.
By districts, Vallecas is the most affected, with an AI of 1,240.76, followed by other areas in the south of the capital; and by municipalities, Humanes, with 1,058.60.
In addition, the Community has reported 1,854 cases in the last 24 hours, multiplying by more than four the figures of the next autonomous region with the most cases registered, the Basque Country, with 429. And it has 3,207 patients admitted to its hospitals, 377 of them in the intensive care units. In this context, Madrid has 23 active outbreaks, 13 from this week: 72 positive cases, eight admitted and 297 contacts.
“We are closely following the situation in the Community of Madrid, we maintain permanent contact between the ministry and the counseling in fluid meetings,” they explain from the department headed by Minister Salvador Illa. “The ministry will give support to the measures that are adopted and when they are known in their literal sense, we will assess. What is clear is that in Madrid measures must be taken ”, they add from the central government. And they underline: “We follow their situation with some concern.”
“It is better to act as soon as possible, we want to anticipate, we cannot take a single step back,” Zapatero acknowledged during his press conference, in which he also advanced that he has asked the Ministry of Health to reduce the days from 14 to 7 isolation that must be followed after testing positive.
Open door to reducing days of isolation
“Already in the last weeks the infectivity period of the virus goes in the first seven days; this fact is contemplated by many specialists ”, has argued the deputy councilor of Díaz Ayuso, who has at his disposal to reactivate the Ifema field hospital in a few hours if infections continue to increase. “France and Germany are considering it and the ministry welcomes this as a possibility,” he added. And it has also reported that the classes in quarantine in the educational centers of the Community of Madrid amount to 178, “which represents 0.5% of the total, since we have a total of 35,000 classrooms.”
Going back to school, however, is not the problem of the Community of Madrid right now. With more than 15,000 deaths and 180,000 infected in the region, and hospital pressure growing day by day due to the increase in cases, the Government has aired hypothetical plans on Wednesday to face a very real problem, plunging citizens and citizens into uncertainty. placing the region once again at the epicenter of the controversy and the pandemic.
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