The seven lessons left by the pandemic, according to Minister Salvador Illa

With almost a thousand students connected via Zoom, the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa inaugurated the cycle of Conversation Blanquerna - La Vanguardia, a meeting place with students, where he spoke about the vaccine and has summarized in seven points the lessons learned during this time.

Students of all degrees, Journalism and Corporate Communication; Audiovisual Communication; Advertising, Public Relations and Marketing; International Relations and Global Communication Management, where Illa taught the subject of Introduction to Economics, were able to raise all sorts of issues related to mobility, the economic impact of the pandemic and even the psychological consequences after confinement, among other issues. The dialogue was long and sincere.

"This will not end tomorrow or next week or next month," said the minister during his initial presentation, "we know from historical experience." But despite the ongoing critical situation, in the midst of a second wave where Europe is the epicenter, Illa is optimistic about the European vaccine strategy: “All the European countries have agreed to buy a vaccine together and distribute it equally among all of us. ” In fact, he explained that they are negotiating up to seven different vaccines, because they are not sure which one will work best: “The best prognosis is that at the beginning of next year, two of these vaccines will be available and by the month of May there may be a number of vaccinated and immunized citizens that would allow us to move on to a different scenario. ”

The situation, he said in all honesty, remains critical, with infected people, who are now of a younger age, but with a health system better equipped in terms of material and learning. In this sense, he explained that all the measures taken have followed the criteria of science, the institutional framework and a policy of transparency. 

Illa sums up in seven points, the lessons that have been learned:

  1. Public and universal health: "Those countries that do not have a universal and public health system have had a worse time." However, it is not enough to have it, it is necessary to reinforce it: "It cannot be taken for granted that this already works."
  2. Health prevention policies: Another key is to have powerful public health departments. "Health has been more focused on reacting and curing diseases than on preventing them," said the minister. This trend needs to be reversed. This means strengthening the Centre of Coordination of Alerts and Emergency Health (CCAES) with more staff, in order to increase the capacity of epidemiological surveillance systems. 
  3. Local production: The need to manufacture in Europe itself and not have to depend on other countries outside Europe to provide us with masks, gloves, gowns, respirators, for example. In short, "the need to have certain strategic products in our country." 
  4. With science in hand: "Science is what will lead us out of the pandemic," Illa said. “We need well-designed careers with a budget with a certain solvency. This is not improvisation. ” It is a long-term bet.  We will be faced with "unscientific attitudes", which we will surely see in the coming months, with groups that trivialize the role of science or the effectiveness of vaccines. 
  5. Strengthening multilateralism: “A pandemic is a disease all over the world. And we will not solve it only in Spain, nor only in Europe. Unless we want to isolate ourselves", said the minister. A positive consequence then will be the "strengthening of a federal Europe".
  6. The value of humility: "This virus has brought us to our knees," said the minister. And it has forced us to change very substantial aspects of our way of life. It has made us aware of our limitations.
  7. Individualism out of place: Individualism in Western societies fosters dynamism, but there must always be a collective sense, a sense of community. The minister concluded: "A pandemic is a forced exercise in solidarity."

enlightenedThis was the first lecture in a cycle dedicated to the reflection on the future between the leaders of today and those of tomorrow.