Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2020 7:01 AM
The communities decide this Wednesday on the Christmas plan which will be applied throughout the territory. Among them, the big question that many families ask themselves: will children count towards the limit of people for Christmas lunches and dinners?
The problem is not trivial and for many people, the decision of communities can abruptly change their plans. There is no consensus: Galicia has opened the ban in this regard and Catalonia is studying it, but other autonomies like Euskadi or Castilla y León do not see it clearly.
The government’s draft Christmas plan offers a maximum of six people at family dinners and does not mention children, so they are considered included when meetings are not between coexistence groups. However, the text is only a list of recommendations and is not mandatory.
Communities therefore continue to manage their powers within the framework of the state of alert and it is they who may or may not limit meetings and include – or not – children.
Here are the positions of the communities already known:
Those who are in favor
The president of the Xunta de Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, put the debate on the table: “The counting of children compared to adults should have a different methodology,” he said when asked about his Christmas project.
At the moment there are no more details in this regard, and the Galician has also not wanted to advance whether he will respect the limit set by the government or allow more important meetings on the most indicated days.
On the other hand, in Catalonia, the government evaluates the exclusion of children from the count of ten people maximum that it treats for the most important dates of the Christmas period, due to the latest studies which certify a low possibility of transmission. of disease.
“We are talking about it at the level of the Procicat. It is true that (children) have a much lower contagion capacity, but this must be decided by the health part of the Procicat and the government,” said the Minister of the Interior. , Miquel Sàmper.
Those who are against
Several communities have been opposed from the start, among other things because of the worst situation on their territory.
In Castilla y León, the Council has already argued that it would not support the removal of children from the figure of six “out of prudence”.
“From our point of view they should count during this type of meeting, they are still people”, defends the director general of public health of Castile-León, while insisting on her desire to reach an agreement to establish common criteria.
In neighboring Euskadi, they are not considering the possibility of relaxing the measures. For this reason, they propose that the children count towards the limit of six people and, as such, they will bring it to the meeting of the Interterritorial Health Council.
The government of Ximo Puig in the Valencian Community recommends increasing the limits of people on the dates indicated: from six to ten people. However, children would be included in this figure. The region of Murcia works in the same spirit. According to his Minister of Health, Manuel Villegas, “there is still time to make decisions”.
What the experts say
The truth is, there is no conclusive data on whether or not children are more contagious than adults. There are studies that say one thing while others say the opposite.
According to a study carried out by the Vall d’Hebron hospital with the help of around a hundred first-line pediatricians, only 8% (86 cases) of the 1081 children under the age of 18 with COVID-19 confirmed between the 1st July and October 31 in Catalonia, they transmitted the coronavirus to the nucleus of their family.
But as Dr César Carballo recalls, “in the UK they have found that a high percentage of infections are coming from schools and they are planning to shut down.”
The epidemiologist Margarita del Val is much more forceful: “Children, adults, we all infect the same. It is the most conservative that can be, and therefore a child must count as an adult, ”he says, in Against being more permissive with gatherings if there are children.
What pediatricians say
The Spanish Pediatric Association confirms that children can also be infected with the virus, despite the fact that these infections are mild or asymptomatic. Therefore, they can also infect, especially in situations where basic prevention measures cannot be followed: masks, ventilation, hygiene or distance.
In addition, pediatricians highlight the positive aspects of going back to school and staying in a restrictive school environment: only 1% of classrooms in the country have been closed and this has not promoted community transmission. A “protective framework”, say the pediatricians, which is lost during the three weeks that the vacation will last, in environments more prone to infections: homes.
Thus, the AEP recommends that children over two years old be counted among the guests and that the total number of people in closed environments with less ventilation be reduced.