There is a new face fronting Spain's Ministry of Health, but there has been no change in some key decisions at the top.
In her first Interterritorial Council meeting as head of the ministry, Carolina Darias followed in the wake of her predecessor, Salvador Illa, and rejected the majority request from the autonomous regions, who again demanded a change in the state of alarm to bring the national government decreed curfew foward to 8pm from the current 10pm.
Darias, flanked by the new Minister of Territorial Policy, Miquel Iceta, and the Director of Emergencies, Fernando Simón, reiterated that the regions still have "room" to take "measures within the current state of alarm".
Simón encouraged the communities to impose "the maximum" restrictions within the current legal framework. “If we manage to properly apply all the measures that the regions have at their disposal, we can control the situation,” he added.
Simón admitted that the pandemic situation will continue to be very complicated in the coming days, among other reasons, due to the virulence of the ‘British’ variant, which in some areas of the country already represents 20 per cent of cases, although on average, its prevalence is between 5 and 8 per cent.
Spain’s Ministry of Health remains optimistic and considers it possible that 70 per cent of the population will have been immunised "in the summer", a line that Darias repeated on several occasions, implying that the Government is giving itself until 21 September to reach this level of vaccination.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccine deliveries
Despite the distribution of vaccine issues between the European Union and the pharmaceutical companies, Darias explained that from next Monday Spain will have more doses of Pfizer available, about 422,000 instead of the 350,000 so far, since the health services from all over the country will be able to obtain six doses from each vial, one more than originally planned by the company.
The minister also reported that 52,000 doses of Moderna's vaccine, which has been used since mid-January, will land in Spain on Sunday.
And finally, Darias defended the actions of the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, against criticism for not appearing in recent weeks.
"He is the one who is leading the Government and the ministers in the pandemic," she said.