Friday, January 21

Sánchez convenes a Conference of Presidents to address the outbreak of the sixth wave

The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will call this week a new Conference of Presidents, which will be held electronically. A meeting in which the Executive intends to strengthen co-governance and institutional cooperation as tools to fight the virus at a time when the country has re-entered the maximum level of risk of contagion, with more than 500 cases for each 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days.

Although a conference had initially been announced on La Palma for early 2022, the intention is that this, which will not replace the one on the island and which has arisen at the request of the Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu, be held in the middle of this week, before Good night. The spokeswoman for the Executive and Minister of Territorial Policy, Isabel Rodríguez, is calling throughout this Saturday to the regional presidents to close the meeting.

The Basque president has requested this meeting considering that at this time of the pandemic, “it is not positive to adopt decisions that are disparate.” “The reason I propose is to share a diagnosis of the situation and the study of common measures to face it,” claims Urkullu, who considers that the fatigue of health personnel, the consequences of COVID for patients with other pathologies, the increase in hospital pressure and the progress of the vaccination campaign “is a reality that not only affects the Basque Country”.

This will be the sixth Conference of Presidents to take place since the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, and in it the central Government intends to strengthen the co-governance mechanisms and cooperation between institutions to address the outbreak of the sixth wave and the expansion of the omicron variant in Spain. The objective of this new meeting is to analyze the situation and share possible actions from co-governance.

In the previous ones, in addition to the aforementioned co-governance, issues such as the measures of the first state of alarm, European funds, the different waves of the coronavirus pandemic in the country or the return to the classroom were addressed. The last, on July 30 in Salamanca, was marked by the establishment of the Catalan president, Pere Aragonés, and by the complaints of some communities, mainly the PP, about the format of the meeting, in which Sánchez had only included two points on the agenda and in which the regional leaders had only five minutes to present their proposals.

The Ministry of Health registered 33,359 new coronavirus infections this Friday, the maximum number of positives since July 23. During this week, the communities have reported 165,337 cases, almost double than the previous seven days. Navarra and Euskadi continue with the incidence rate above a thousand cases, while some communities such as Madrid, with 7,511 positives in this last day, register a significant increase in infections. In addition, Andalusia reports 4,580 infections, and the Valencian Community, 3,751. These three are the regions that show the greatest increase in COVID cases.

In recent weeks and months, the different autonomous governments have been taking different measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus. Galicia, Aragon, the Balearic Islands, Murcia, Catalonia, the Valencian Community, Andalusia, the Canary Islands and Navarra have the endorsement of their respective superior courts of Justice to implement the COVID passport for Christmas and in Euskadi the Supreme Court has given the green light.

Catalonia has gone further and has reintroduced the mandatory quarantine for close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID. The Community of Madrid, for its part, has chosen to offer an antigen test per person the days before Christmas Eve. These self-diagnostic tests have not yet reached pharmacies, where the payment ones have been exhausted.