The Basque Government is going to request authorization from the Superior Court of Justice of the Basque Country (TSJPV) to be able to use the so-called ‘COVID passport’, which indicates a complete vaccination or the existence of a negative diagnostic test, for purposes other than those conceived , traveling safely between countries of the European Union. The decision comes after a strong rebound in COVID-19 in recent weeks. “We are not doing well and we have to take action,” emphasized Health Minister Gotzone Sagardui. It would be applied in nightlife venues, in concerts and restaurants with more than 50 diners and to people who are vaccinated, that is, over 12 years old, it has been specified in an appearance before the media.
The coronavirus crisis: maps and graphs of its evolution in the Basque Country
This decision, which follows the open debate in Navarra or the decision in Galicia, represents a total amendment to the previous position of the Basque Executive, which had categorically rejected this possibility and had even questioned the ability of unofficial instances to be the in charge of controlling its validity. Even 24 hours before this announcement, the Lehendakari himself, Iñigo Urkullu, had stressed that the Basque Country does not have “powers” to regulate this measure and had asked for guidelines for the “uniform” application of this certificate throughout Spain.
The relationship between the Executive of Iñigo Urkullu and the contentious-administrative judges of the Basque Superior has not been peaceful in this pandemic. In fact, they have only succeeded in validating the last of the proposed measures, the ban on popcorn in cinemas. The court, chaired by the controversial magistrate Luis Garrido, has on other occasions overturned restrictions even under the legal cover of a state of alarm, such as the closure of the hotel industry in municipalities with incidence rates above 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days. Now, the Basque Country proposes this regulation without a state of alarm and also without a health emergency.
The incidence rate of the pandemic in the Basque Country is already 196.25, one of the highest in Spain. “We still do not have, it is true, the levels of healthcare pressure from other waves, but we have to be alert,” emphasized the Minister of Health when presenting this first step back in the measures after the end of the health emergency last month of October. In Euskadi there are 143 people admitted, 27 of them critical in the ICU. He has ensured that it is necessary to avoid reaching 200 hospitalized people, 150 in the ward and 50 in the ICU. “We are not doing well. The pandemic is rising with a great speed of growth,” said Sagardui in Basque, who insisted that the context is “worrying”. “The forecast for the next few days is that we continue to grow,” he added. “It is essential to slow down the progression of the pandemic before it gets bigger,” he has settled.
Sagardui has admitted the 180-degree turn, but has justified the proposal due to the new context of rebound. “On the one hand, it is the moment in which we find ourselves. I have always said that at all times we will use those measures that we consider can best respond to the need to respond to the pandemic. In this case, for its implementation, it is It is necessary to have judicial authorization. We try to serve as an accreditation to be able to go to certain spaces in which the risk of transmission is high. More than one community is requesting it from the State so that the framework can be established that allows its generalized use “, has responded to journalists without denying their previous critical statements. Euskadi goes to Justice “with the greatest respect” and understanding that the court will be a “participant” in the epidemiological situation. “Total confidence that they will make a timely assessment of our arguments and request,” he added.
Likewise, Sagardui has raised the need for “complementary measures” to reinforce the protocols already in force in the quarantine of municipalities with an incidence rate of more than 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days. It is about that the affected municipalities have the capacity to “temporarily postpone” or “suspend” activities in which the preventive measures in force cannot be guaranteed, “putting special interest in those that are linked to the intake of food and drink.” In any case, it is requested that the events, “both indoors and outdoors”, be organized with more “space” between spectators, “corridors for the orderly flow of people” and forcing to “delimit the spaces for food and drinks “. It is suggested whenever it is possible for the activities to be carried out “abroad”. “The risk is greater in closed spaces and with many people,” said Sagardui, who has announced that from now on the epidemiological situation will be reported twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, to “raise awareness among the population.” .
Sagardui has stressed that other measures remain in force that were never withdrawn. They are the use of the mask indoors and also outdoors when the interpersonal distance of one and a half meters is not guaranteed at all times. Also the 80% capacity indoors or the prohibition of eating and drinking at events or in cinemas.