When will there be no choice but to be confined by covid-19?

From the outset, we have emphasized that each and every person in our society has a responsibility to help contain the pandemic. For this, we must firmly apply the 3M prevention measures (mask; hands-hygiene; meters-distance) and avoid 3C (poorly ventilated closed places; crowded; and close contacts).

On the other hand, the authorities had to minimize the transmission of the coronavirus by guaranteeing a good public health and primary care network, carrying out agile and reliable diagnostic tests (from which the cases would be isolated), and carrying out traces to identify and follow the patients. contacts (who must follow quarantine).

At this point the cumulative incidence and mortality follow a worrying growing trend. While waiting for a safe and effective vaccine, it is necessary to establish additional measures that minimize social interaction and act in other areas of potential risk (such as reduced capacity or access restrictions in hotels or entertainment venues). Also coercive complementary resolutions such as the “restriction of mobility by zones”, the “perimeter closure” of municipalities or the “curfew” (in this case to carry out a severe control of night mobility).

In addition, there is another alternative, which is even stricter, and which we will examine: the home confinement of the entire population, either as we experience it in spring or with some more lax aspects.

March 2020: the first confinement of our lives

Confinement was necessary in March when the new coronavirus tsunami hit our population and health care services were overwhelmed.

In this difficult context, a Royal Decree was urgently approved declaring a state of alarm for the management of the health crisis situation caused by covid-19. The goal was to flatten the curve through a collaborative social effort to avoid the collapse of the health system. That did not mean that in the long run there were fewer infected, but that they did not all accumulate at once. In addition, it was a question of buying time in order to establish pandemic response systems to suppress transmission after de-escalation.

The spring confinement had the desired effect in that the curve flattened and the initial hit subsided. However, we know that it affected the physical and mental health of the population, at the same time that it harmed the economy. This had a great impact on the most vulnerable populations. Furthermore, the de-escalation was not very effective.

For all these reasons, the conviction was reached to reserve confinement (a rudimentary measure, which was already used centuries ago in the event of epidemic episodes) for extremely justified situations. The foregoing was defended by the authorities of the Ministry of Health and the Autonomous Communities who, in a meeting on November 4, approved to unify the fight against covid-19 in a national strategy document designed within the Interterritorial Council of the National System of health.

The text made it clear that it ruled out imminent home confinement. Logically, there was no explicit reference to discarding it completely.