After a week of warnings in light of the clear rebound that the pandemic is suffering in Euskadi, the health authorities have advanced in the middle of Sunday and with a brief statement that this Tuesday, after the weekly meeting of the Governing Council, “new guidelines for municipalities with a high incidence of COVID-19 “. The restrictions that will be adopted are not specified at any time but it is reiterated, meanwhile, “the need to comply with preventive measures such as avoiding crowds, hand hygiene, ventilation of closed spaces, continued use of the mask and, of course, vaccination “. Now, this message is accompanied by the finding that the situation is “better than a year ago”, when there were no vaccines and hospital pressure was much higher.
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The justification for this alert comes when the Basque Country has exceeded the rate of 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days, a threshold that the Ministry of Health already considers as high risk, although in the Basque case the red alert is activated with an incidence of 400 (became 500 in some phases of the pandemic). Navarra is the other autonomous community with these figures and, within the Basque Country, the data for Gipuzkoa are the highest. It is impossible to give figures of the epidemiological evolution with precision because, after decreeing the end of the health emergency in October, the Basque Health Service (Osakidetza) changed the daily report with a weekly summary of the main indicators that will be made public this Monday at noon. A week ago, the municipalities with more than 5,000 inhabitants in the worst position were Astigarraga and Agurain, particularly, but also Abadiño, Azpeitia and Zumarraga. The only official message is that in the last hours “the upward trend is evident.”
The Ministry of Health does send a report with the main data from Monday to Friday. The last of these reports revealed that the Basque Country doubles the average incidence rate in Spain and that on Thursday it registered practically 400 positives in 24 hours, unknown figures in months. Likewise, the incidence among the non-vaccinable population (those under 12 years of age) had already shot up to over 300, more than triple that in the whole of Spain. On the contrary, according to this report, the Basque Country has been below the average for some time in the number of tests carried out (added PCR and antigens), with 1,191 per 100,000 inhabitants per 1,248 in Spain. Asturias, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Catalonia, Extremadura, Madrid, Navarra and La Rioja surpass it.
Since last weekend, both the Minister of Health, Gotzone Sagardui, and the Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, had repeated almost daily the need to observe with “rigor” the current measures -particularly the continued use of the mask if there are no distances , even on the street – if you don’t want to go back to Christmas. However, at no time have scenarios or possibilities been advanced beyond the entry into force of a regulation that prevents the consumption of beverages in large glasses at popular fairs. In fact, legally it is unknown territory since there is neither a state of alarm nor a health emergency activated to guide what the next steps may be. Once the crisis table that has piloted the different phases of the pandemic has been dissolved (the body known as Labi), it is Minister Sagardui who has full powers to modify preventive measures.