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COVID-19

Toilet roll and ice-cream? The essential products you are allowed to leave the house for in Spain’s coronavirus lockdown

The royal decree itself is vague about what constitutes "essential shopping", one of the few valid reasons for leaving the house during Spain’s lockdown.

Toilet roll and ice-cream? The essential products you are allowed to leave the house for in Spain's coronavirus lockdown
People queuing and maintaining a safe distance outside a Madrid supermarket. Photos: AFP

Now, three weeks into confinement measures and there are daily reports of people being fined by police for being outside without good reason.

So the Guardia Civil in Alicante region published a list of what it considers approved essential products.  Here it is:

Fresh meat, poultry, game and rabbit, fish and shellfish, eggs and dairy are all on list. So too is cooking oil, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Tinned and jarred food is also on the list.

Also included on the list are sauces, sugar, coffee and other related products.

Ready meals and specialist diet food are also acceptable.

Water and ice is also a considered an essential, and so too is ice-cream.

It will come as a relief to many that alcoholic beverages ARE considered essential produce, as are soft-drinks.

READ ALSO: 

Helpfully the list also included those products not for consumption that are still permissible to buy and these include medicines, cleaning products, personal hygiene products and sanitary items, plants, seeds, flowers and material required to grow them.

Those hoping to use the time at home to do some simple DIY projects will be relieved to hear that buying paints, varnishes, glues etc is also allowed so too are electronic, digital and computer items and accessories.

Music instruments and accessories also appear on the list alongside photographic equipment.

Fuels such as logs or gas bottles are also allowed.

Books, newspapers and school materials are also listed.

The Guardia Civil document also listed those services and considered essential under the state of emergency decree and that includes housing, utilities, health (including medical centres, pharmacists, and veterinarians) elderly or disabled care services, public transport, communications such as telecommunications services and the Post Office.

It also included banking, insurance and financial services as well as cleaning and rubbish collection services.

Those involved in emergency maintenance such as plumbers, electricians and other emergency repair services are exempt from the stay at home rule.

So too are launderettes and dry cleaners.

On Saturday Spain's prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, announced that the lockdown would be extended until at least April 26th even though it is beginning to show results and the rise in the number of infections and deaths is slowing.

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UPDATE:  On Monday April 6th, several hours after this article was published Spain's Interior Minister issued a statement asking provincial police force departments not to dessiminate lists of products and services that were allowed or disallowed during lockdown.   

 

 

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COVID-19

Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.

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