Spanish premier Pedro Sanchez heralded a successful outcome to the latest European Council meeting held last week.
The virtual Council meeting with all 28 heads of government tackled key issues in combating the coronavirus pandemic including the introduction and coordination of rapid antigen tests and vaccines.
Earlier the Prime Minister said that the roll out will start this year and as early as the first quarter of 2021 a “a very substantial part of the Spanish population could be vaccinated with all guarantees during the first quarter of 2021″.
The European Union has already signed contracts with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca, Sanofi/GSK, Janssen and BioNTech/Pfizer for a total of one billion doses of coronavirus vaccine, as well negotiations being concluded with CureVac, Moderna and Novavax for up to 400 million doses.
Sanchez said there was a need to “establish a mutual recognition mechanism” for the antigen tests” as they form part of the country’s “strategy for the rapid detection, monitoring and control of COVID-19”.
Spain has introduced compulsory negative PCR testing for international travellers PCR testing for international travellers arriving to Spain and the government believes that they offer “the most reliable option” until anigen tests are made standard across Europe.
Sanchez clarified that Spain would receive doses to immunise 10 million people in the first roll out followed by an additional 40 milllion doses.
Despite the upbeat assessment the Prime Minister highlighted the need to look forward and coordinate the de-escalation of current restrictions across Europe in order to avoid a third wave of the pandemic, especially as Christmas approaches.
The 27 also discussed the delays in approving the Multi-annual Financial Framework and the European Recovery Fund, the so-called Next Generation EU . Pedro Sánchez called for these to be approved as soon as possible and the funds to become available as soon as possible in early 2021 to start tackling the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic.
Both Poland and Hungary have indicated they will block the funds unless the EU drops the conditions that are attached which apply to them.
Spain is line with a package worth 140 billion Euros made up of grants and soft loans. The funds form a major part of the goverment´s Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan for the recovery programme for the Spanish Economy.
Spain´s cumulative 14 days rate has slowed by around 20% with a drop from 530 to 436 cases per 100,000 inhabitants today.
To date Spain has recorded over 1.6 million cases and 42,000 deaths from the virus.