Spain has not ruled out extending the present state of alarm beyond its expiry date of May 9. On March 12, Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, said that the Government was “not closed to any possibility” because the objective was to “lower the incidence.” She added that she believes that the present system, in which the regions work as “delegated authorities” is working “almost perfectly.”
From March 19, the Junta de Andalucía lifted some restrictions which have been in place because of the health situation. Bars and restaurants were permitted to stay open until 10.30pm, while the curfew was retimed to run from 11pm to 6am. Meetings continued to be limited to four people inside and six outside these premises.
The changes apply only to municipalities with fewer than 1,000 cases detected per 100,000 population. No town in the province of Málaga fell into this category.
However, the regional government also made it clear that the situation “continues to be unpredictable” and asked that people are not “fooled by the data.” For this reason, the Junta de Andalucía refused to lift the restriction on travel between provinces for the time being.
On March 16, the Spanish Health Ministry temporarily suspended using the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid 19 vaccine following reports of three cases of blood clots in the previous 24 hours. At least four people who had been given the vaccine developed conditions from which two subsequently died. One of these, a 43-year old maths teachers in Marbella, had no pre-existing health condition but a later post-mortem ruled out any connection with the AstraZeneca.
Three days later, the European Medicines Agency said the vaccine was safe to use and the cases detected following vaccination in a number of countries had no direct connect with the vaccine. Spain announced it would resume use of the AstraZeneva vaccine the following week.
Latest figures suggest that Spain has only administered 4.4 million doses of vaccines so far, with those over 80 years of age and essential workers currently being prioritised.
Meanwhile, the Spanish agency responsible for monitoring health medications and products has banned Taffix, a nasal spray which was being sold as a potential coronavirus treatment. It was described as coating the inside of the nose creating a more acidic environment in which viruses like Covid-19 find it difficult to survive.
However, the the Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) in Madrid has banned its sale on the basis there was that there is “not enough clinical evidence” to show it is effective. The €14.95 spray, which does not require a prescription, bears the CE mark, which means it has been deemed safe to use in Europe, but the Agency said it had “doubts” about its effectiveness.
Finally, on March 18, Gibraltar became the first nation in the world to have vaccinated all its adult population. Over 20,000 of the Rock’s residents had their second jab by that date, according to official figures. Authorities in the British Territory have also been vaccinating Spanish nationals who cross the border to work there.