Spanish government opens door to quick tests in pharmacies

Spanish regions create taskforce to coordinate response over Christmas holidays

"Pharmacies are key." The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, has opened the door this Wednesday to the possibility that the autonomous communities who want to can use these spaces to test the population for antigens. Illa announced this at a press conference after the Interterritorial Health Council and said that the decision may be used after Brussels had shown itself to be favourable.

The European Commission published this morning a series of recommendations on these rapid covid-19 tests to promote homologation in the European Union. The European executive says nothing about the suitability of these tests for pharmacies. Even so, Brussels has warned that the staff who carry out these tests must be trained and that there must be a protocol for collecting the samples. That is why Illa has warned that all those communities that want to do these tests in pharmacies, such as Catalonia or Madrid, will have to present a plan explaining "what and how". "What staff and what security measures will be used for the tests. There is a number of details that are important to know", said Illa.

Close contacts to get antigen tests instead of PCRs

Coordination for Christmas

Illa has also announced that after the meeting of the Interterritorial Council on Wednesday, the autonomous communities have agreed to create a new taskforce to establish common criteria to face the Christmas holidays. Illa explained that the decision was taken so that the most vulnerable population could "enjoy" the holidays with family and friends safely. This taskforce will share the different measures that communities like Catalonia are already studying, and will give more details at the next inter-territorial meeting.

Illa has said that they would be "recommendations", but on whether the plan could mean relaxing some of the restrictions, the Minister of Health has already warned that "nobody has talked about relaxing the measures; nobody has said that the situation is over", and has insisted that a feeling of "relaxation" this December could lead to a very complicated situation once the Christmas holidays are over. "No optimism; despite a stabilisation of the downward trend in cases, a lot of recovery is still needed," warned Illa, who concluded that "anything that means restrictions on mobility is good".

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