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Just a few days after announcing that the Valencian regional government would be submitting a request to move the Comunidad Valenciana to Phase 2 of the state de-escalation plan next Monday 25th, Health Minister Ana Barceló revealed that this would not actually be the case during the daily health crisis press conference yesterday evening, adopting a policy for "prudence and responsibility" a few hours after the Government's Health Minister Salvador Illa expressed his own concerns about whether the Valencian region was ready.

The region has moved into Phase 1 in stages with some territories not doing so until this week. Consequently it has led to the Regional health Ministry re-evaluating the actual situation across the Comunidad and deciding that another seven days was needed to ensure that the autonomous community can move to Phase 2 under the right conditions. Whilst the general overall trend continues to be positive, over the past few days, there has been a slight increase in the virus Rt* - from 0,66 to 0,88 - whilst five neighbouring town in La Ribera have seen confirmed cases triple from 13 to 40 almost overnight although this situation there is now under control. Therefore, it's likely that the Comunidad Valenciana won't now move into Phase 2 until Monday 1st June.

Barceló explained that: "The most important thing is to protect the health of the Valencian people" adding that the Ministry wants to progress through the de-escalation phases in a calm and unified manner: "We want to leave [Phase 1] together ... with responsibility". Hermelinda Vavaclocha, deputy directer-general of Epidemiology, pointed out that the situation had changed since the weekend and that "we must ensure that the lack of confinement doesn't leave to further transmission [of the disease]" adding that "we can't afford to go back".

*Rt is the virus transmission rate, indicating how many other people will be infected from a single infected person. Back on March 14th, the Rt rate in the Comunidad Valenciana was 7,69; infections rose from 110 to 430 in one day. If it remains below 1, then the epidemic should eventually die out. Above 1, it will grow and spread across the population. The ultimate aim is to reach zero. However, the danger is always that the population lets its guard down as they consider the pandemic to have been overcome, sparking the dreaded second wave of infections. The most effective way to ensure that the Rt remains below 1 and continues to head towards zero is to respect social distancing.

Source: Various
Date: Wednesday 20th May 2020





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