The Government has taken a step forward to intervene in the extreme situation that the Community of Madrid is experiencing with the pandemic. It will not declare the state of alarm or take command as more and more experts demand, but it can be the first step if things do not improve. For now Pedro Sánchez will meet at Puerta del Sol with Isabel Diaz Ayuso to “address a joint strategy” and “join efforts and means”. In the coming days it will be possible to check if the meeting, for which no date has yet been set, achieves these objectives.
The initiative of the meeting has come from Sánchez through a letter sent this Thursday in which he argues the need to “reinforce the co-governance mechanisms in view of” the evolution of the pandemic in the Community that you preside. “
The letter was written a few hours after the vice president of Madrid, Ignacio Aguado, claimed “a forceful implication” de Sánchez in the Madrid crisis. Aguado is the most relevant institutional position of Ciudadanos, a party that Sánchez is now courting for the Budgets.
It is very likely that Aguado appealed to the government without consulting Ayuso in the face of the chaotic management of the crisis, but the president took advantage of his reply letter to remind her interlocutor that she had repeatedly asked for an unsuccessful meeting. Ayuso argues her letter that Madrid being the capital “requires specific coordination.”
The Madrid Executive has so far resisted taking such drastic measures such as those applied by other autonomies with a lower incidence of the virus so as not to damage the economy. And when the Deputy Minister of Public Health, Antonio Zapatero, has advanced to announce them for the first time, since the presidency the brakes have been stepped on. It could also take advantage of the declaration of a state of alarm in a single territory offered by Sánchez if it lacked legal instruments to face the crisis.
Madrid has been in suspense since the announcement of the “selective confinements” in the areas with the highest incidence. Until 11.30 am today it will not be known if there will be or how they will be. Ayuso herself will announce it.
The president sent two of her advisers on Thursday to try to reassure the bewildered citizens. The one from Health, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, recorded a video destined, as he himself said, to “send a message of calm in reference to the interpretations that are being made regarding the coronavirus situation.” In it he stated that the regional Executive is working on a “proposal to make decisions in the sense of restrict mobility and reduce activity in areas with the highest transmission of the virus. “
Escudero fled the word confinement, but did not rule it out. In the end, when mobility is limited, a type of confinement is being applied. According to Cadena Ser, Ayuso unsuccessfully pressured Zapatero to retract his ad in a video.
The other counselor in tertiary, Enrique López, argued that an autonomous community cannot “confine people to their homes” without asking for the state of alarm and that what is being sought is to “reduce mobility and limit unnecessary contacts “. “We must send a message of tranquility to the population”, he warned because the word confinement “generates anxiety.” Will it be a confinement but with another name?
Before proposing to Ayuso the summit in Sol, Sánchez had already sent him on a message through the Minister of Health. “Madrid has to do whatever it takes to control empidemia. I want to be very clear.” Coming from Salvador Illa, who almost never abandons the conciliatory tone with the communities, the demand sounded an order for immediate compliance.
The background panorama
The ucis already have a 41.5% COVID occupancy in Madrid, with some hospitals full, beds 22% and PCR positivity 22%, an unequivocal index that thousands of cases are not detected. Primary Care is overwhelmed, something that is not measured in figures but of which there are numerous examples. “We have six doctors, four are on sick leave, one is on vacation, we only have one working.” Flora, the nurse at one of the health centers in Puente de Vallecas, the zero zone of the coronavirus in Spain, counted it with despair.