The LABI Advisory Council chaired by the Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, has decreed the end of health emergency in Euskadi and, therefore, lift the main restrictive measures that remain in force to curb the covid-19 pandemic.
However, some restrictions will remain activated, such as the 80% capacity limitation in events that take place in closed spaces and in venues with a capacity of more than 5,000 people.
Also, the use of the mask it will continue to be mandatory indoors, and outdoors when a safe distance cannot be maintained.
The prohibition of ingesting food or beverages in social, cultural and sporting events, whether indoors or outdoors.
The decree of the Basque Government that will include these measures will enter into force next Thursday and from that day on, it can be consumed at the bar counter and there will no longer be any capacity in the hotels, shops and cultural events, except in the case of large closed venues.
In principle, this has been the last meeting of the institutional LABI, since once the health emergency is deactivated, this forum will be dissolved and the management of the pandemic will be the responsibility of the Department of Health.
In an appearance in Lehendakaritza, Urkullu stressed that the epidemiological situation has improved to the point that it is possible to put an end to the health emergency and lift the measures that limit hours, capacity and different activities.
The evolution of covid-19 has stabilized at around 60 cases per 100,000 inhabitants of accumulated incidence in 14 days and hospital pressure has dropped significantly, with 34 patients admitted to the Intensive Care Units.
The Lehendakari has stated that “Today a new stage of sanitary surveillance begins” and it has explained that its decision is based on the report of the LABI technical committee.
According to experts, the health situation at this time can be addressed as “endemic”, since “the number of infections becomes relatively constant over time, although there may be occasional outbreaks.”
However, the technicians warn that the pandemic is not over and that the main threats are still there: “the unpredictability of the virus due to its high mutation capacity, the lack of vaccination in large areas of the planet and the uncertainty about the persistence of natural or vaccine immunity”.
For this reason, it has underlined that, in this new phase, a limitation of 80% of capacity will be maintained in events that take place in closed spaces in venues with a capacity of more than 5,000 people.
In the same way, he has said that the mandatory use of masks will continue in force indoors, “and outdoors when interpersonal distance cannot be maintained.”
In his speech, Urkullu has indicated that the objectives set out in the New Life Plan IV and has stated that the key to the downward trend in cumulative incidence has been the covid-19 vaccine.
“The scientific evidence and objective data are overwhelming. The vaccine has been the best tool to defeat the virus. I call for the completion of the vaccination process. Everyone should be able to get vaccinated and whoever has the opportunity should do so,” he said. .
However, the Lehendakari has also asked prudence and has appealed to continue to act with responsibility.
“We cannot consider this health crisis completely over. We must not lower our guard. It is still necessary to maintain an attitude of prevention, because it may be necessary to adopt preventive measures again,” he insisted.
In this sense, Urkullu has declared that the health authorities of the Basque Government will continue to evaluate the health situation “day by day”.
Urkullu defends the management of the Basque Government
In his appearance after the last meeting of the LABI Advisory Council, Urkullu has been accompanied by all its members, both technical and political leaders, whom he thanked for their work.
The Lehendakari has affirmed that the Basque response to the pandemic is comparable to that of the countries “most advanced in the world” and he has cited that “the vast majority of society has acted with responsibility and commitment” and that the Basque Country is “in the leading group” in vaccination.
He has also ensured that in the Basque Autonomous Community there have been “more test” that in other communities, there have been “fewer people hospitalized and admitted to the ICU” and the increase in deaths in the covid period “has been lower” than the environment.
In addition, the Lehendakari has stated that “less restrictive measures” in culture (open from June 1), hospitality (with 34 days of closure), commerce (open since the confinement was lifted) and education (with 99% of the classrooms with face-to-face 5,147 million extraordinary euros to the affected sectors.
Finally, it has recognized the work of the health and social health system during this pandemic, as well as the rest of essential services, and has announced that with the lifting of the sanitary emergency, the Department of Security will be in charge of the Civil Protection Plan and the Health Plan of sanitary surveillance.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.