Day 52 – Wednesday May 6th
Today has been the complete opposite of yesterday, as in not remotely full. Mainly because I spent most of last night kept awake by a bloody mosquito whining in my ear. It’s bad enough that the little bastards drink your blood and leave you with itchy red lumps over any limb that foolishly escapes the confines of the duvet, but do they have to be so damn noisy? It’s impossible to kill the buggers when it’s dark and you’re half asleep and equally impossible to get back to sleep when it’s buzzing around your ear. Consequently I had about 3.5 hours of sleep last night.
I sensibly turned my alarm clock off and planned to move my daily walk to this evening, but it seems my body is now primed to be awake at 7am, so off I went. I treated myself to a cafe con leche and a chocolate Neapolitano on the way back. When I returned to my bedroom the mosquito was sunning itself in plain sight on the ceiling by the window. I got great satisfaction splatting its blood filled body (my blood!). Safe at last I went back to bed and didn’t wake up until gone midday. Well, that’s one way to fill the time. I’ve spent the rest of the day in the sort of fog you get when your sleep cycle is screwed.
The big question today is whether the Madrid region will move to phase 1 next week. Today is the day that each region must apply to the Ministry of Health to progress from phase zero to phase one on May 11th. It is by no means guaranteed that every region will do so. There is a set of criteria that must be achieved by the health authorities of the region, namely that they have 1.5 ICU beds and 3 critical care beds available per every 100k residents. Obviously the more Covid-19 patients a region currently has in hospital the less beds will be available. Madrid and Cataluña between them account for half of all cases in Spain so we are likely to be the last to complete the phases.
The Madrid council has been gathering the necessary information from the various hospitals and putting their report together all week. It was finally completed yesterday and Madrid Region Vice Premier stated that we did meet the criteria set. Then today the Madrid Region Premier stated that we were not ready to move to Phase One next week. Talk about confusing. I feel these two politicians need to speak to each other and get their stories aligned. Either way it is up to the Department of Health to decide once the application is made. As yet I don’t know if Madrid has submitted the request. They have until midnight tonight, I believe, but it is looking unlikely.
Mind you at one point it looked as if no applications would be necessary. The current state of alarm was due to end on May 10th. The government had applied for an extension until May 25th, but at one point it looked like the opposition parties might not support this. Without the state of alarm the police have no power to enforce the deescalation phases and it would effectively become a free for all. We would be dependant on individuals safely following the guidelines, as is the case in Sweden. Unfortunately I really can’t see the Spanish, or the British for that matter, doing this. We’re a belligerent bunch and tend to do the opposite of what we’re told.
There is concern amongst the right wing parties and some regions that the state of alarm gives the central government too much power and sets a dangerous precedent. This is true. The government argues that without the state of alarm Spain would be unable to effectively manage the quarantine and hundreds of thousands more people could die and the health services overwhelmed. This is also true. You can see the dilemma. Congress has been at loggerheads discussing this for the last two days.
As of about an hour ago the extension to the state of alarm was finally agreed, but we need to make sure these deescalation phases go smoothly as some people have clearly run out of patience.