Spanish families face a Christmas between questions. The government and autonomous communities established last Wednesday – and within the Interterritorial Health Council – several mandatory measures that are raising the doubts of the population. From December 23 to January 6, the Communities will be closed around the perimeter, except to meet with relatives and friends. In this context, rapid tests are conceived by many as a possible “Christmas pass” to meet during the holidays without being exposed to the virus.
However, the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, on Monday showed some distrust regarding its relevance and argued that the tests “They are not an absolute security passport”. He did it at a press conference in which Health presented its campaign for this Christmas against Covid. What the minister did seem to be sure of is the restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus this Christmas, which he defined as “very drastic” and “adjusted to reality”, despite subjecting its success to the “individual responsibility of the citizenry ».
It remains unclear what control mechanisms the Interior Ministry will deploy during the holidays, as they are “mandatory” restrictions. Illa only specified that there will be random mobility controls, as in this bridge of the Constitution, and insisted on how much we play, since “the most important outbreaks of coronavirus are occurring in the social and family sphere.”
Illa also explained that Health is studying these days the request for antigen tests in pharmacies. In this sense, he indicated that reports have already been requested from the general directorates and the areas of the ministry “concerned” to make a decision. “I hope to have information in the course of these first days and make a decision this week if possible”, advanced the Catalan minister.
Lagging behind Madrid
On November 17, the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, turned to the European Union to seek support for the possibility that pharmacies could perform antigen tests.
After the Spanish Medicines Agency did not authorize it, the head of the regional Executive decided, to validate these tests, to send a new letter to Ursula von der Leyen. In his letter he argued that coronavirus tests in pharmacies were already used in European countries such as France, Portugal and the United Kingdom, as well as in other consolidated health systems, such as the United States, Australia or Canada.
Illa communicated that same day to the regions that requested to be able to do antigen tests in their pharmacies, the obligation to present an action plan that includes how, under what conditions and under what security measures the tests will be carried out. Health continues to “study” this measure twenty days later. The reality is that it is one of the best options for traveling at Christmas, since the results can be obtained in 20 minutes. Its reliability is similar to PCR and its price is affordable.
Another option is self-diagnostic tests, which allow you to know if you have antibodies against the virus. From this weekend These tests can now be purchased in pharmacies in our country. When assessing the reliability of these detection systems Salvador Illa preferred to remain cautious and argued that “these tests are not a passport. They are a photo of a moment.
In the same appearance, the General Director of Public Health, Pilar Aparicio, explained that they are tests that can be done at home and detect antibodies, but your results must be confirmed with a PCR test in a health center. “If a test is done at home, the confirmation has to be done with a test in a health center, and in the event of a negative result, preventive measures should never be avoided,” he concluded.
The spokeswoman for the General Council of Pharmaceutical Colleges, Ana López, pointed out on Sunday that These self-diagnostic tests require a prescription, as well as the interpretation and intervention of a health professional.
In his appearance on Monday, Illa opted for the defense of measures that raise doubts about Christmas trips. However, the Health Minister was especially skeptical about the use of antigen and self-diagnosis tests as a passport for this Christmas and sent a reassuring message about the vaccination plan.
He endeavored to ensure that the Spanish population “is going to have a very positive response” to vaccination against Covid-19, and that the European Medicines Agency will be in charge of ratifying that vaccines against Covid-19 are “safe and effective”. Before all that comes, Spain faces an uncertain Christmas due to the coronavirus pandemic.