Minister of Health predicts ‘more short confinements’ and a ‘different Christmas’
The Minister of Health for Spain, Salvador Illa, has said that any other coronavirus confinements in the coming months would be “drastic but short,” as is already happening across Europe during this second wave of the health crisis. As for the Christmas season, he said that it “would not be the same as usual, it will be different and with distancing compared to other years.”
Speaking during a radio interview with RAC1 in Madrid, Illa also pledged that a coronavirus vaccine would be ready by the start of 2021, adding that it would still take some time until the population was vaccinated and the pandemic could be considered over.
“There are between five and six complicated months left for us to go,” he said, during which time residents of Spain will have to continue to live with a highly contagious virus that can cause a lot of complications, he warned.
Illa also analyzed the restrictions that were introduced on Friday in Catalonia, including Barcelona, with bars and restaurants being forced to close for a two-week period in a bid to halt the spread of the virus. “It’s much better to act ahead of time and drastically, than to wait until cases start to rise,” he said. “This won’t be solved in 15 days in Catalonia, in Spain or in Europe,” he warned. “The situation is worrying, we must take precautions and we must take this seriously.”
The minister also ruled out another total lockdown, the same as between March and June of this year. “It is not necessary to go that far,” he said. “We have already addressed other outbreaks,” adding that “in the coming weeks and months precise measures will be needed in order to react to a changeable epidemiological situation.”
By next summer, Illa continued, “the situation will be much more normal than the current one,” adding that a vaccine could still come “as a Christmas gift.” One of the vaccine contracts, he explained, includes three million doses for Spain.
“Several months will be needed to distribute the vaccine, something that will be done in a ‘fair and proportional’ manner among Spain’s regions. A group of experts is working to determine how a mass vaccination program will be carried out,” he added.
The minister also called for “a very belligerent approach to deniers and anti-vaxxers. Vaccinations save lives. They will have to be given to whoever the scientists say: those who are more at risk, or those who are in contact with those who are at risk.”