Madrid will not enter ‘phase 1’ of de-escalation from the coronavirus lockdown this Monday.
The Ministry of Health believes the capital’s system for conducting COVID-19 tests in health centres needs improvement before the city is ready to ease restrictions.
The decision comes after Madrid’s director general of Public Health, Yolanda Fuentes, resigned after she refused to sign a phase change proposal, fearing the region was not ready for de-escalation.
The autonomous government agreed to send the proposal on Wednesday evening, but without the signatures of Fuentes and minister of health Enrique Ruiz Escudero.
Among central government requirements is the availability of two ICU beds for every 10,000 inhabitants.
In Madrid, this would mean having 1,400 ICU beds – but currently there are only 1,350 available.
The number of hospital beds required ranges from 37 to 40 per 10,000 inhabitants, meaning Madrid’s current 17,000 beds fall short of a required 24,750.
All autonomous regions in Spain started ‘phase 0’ of the five-step coronavirus de-escalation plan last Monday.
The islands of La Gomera, El Hierro, La Graciosa and Formentera all began phase 1, which allows restaurants to reopen their terraces, among other measures, while various autonomous communities are expecting to enter phase 1 this coming Monday.
The de-escalation will continue through phases 2, 3 and 4, until the procedure is completed at the end of June.
Spain’s army expects there to be two more outbreaks of the coronavirus, according to an internal report.
The army document also predicts that Spain will take “between a year and a year-and-a-half to return to normality.
The second wave of COVID-19” is expected to come in the autumn or winter and will be less serious than the initial outbreak due to higher immunity in the population and better preparations.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has warned that he considers it highly probable that the virus will make comebacks until a vaccine is developed.