Council of Ministers

Government remains on alert regarding cold snap and starts to assess damage caused by Storm Filomena

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Tuesday 12 January 2021

The Council of Ministers reviewed the actions taken to alleviate the effects of Storm Filomena last week, and the emergency operation that continues to be deployed due to the current cold snap.

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Ricardo GalánThe Minister for Home Affairs, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, stressed that the warning activated last week due to the storm is still in force, as a result of the extreme temperatures registered in the centre and east of the country - the following areas remain on red alert: Albacete, Ávila, Burgos, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Madrid, Segovia, Soria, Teruel, Toledo and Zaragoza, and requested that people act prudently and carefully, while avoiding any journey, whether on foot or in vehicles, unless strictly necessary. There are currently 527 highways affected by ice and snow, 113 roads closed and 128 roads where snow chains must be fitted.

Fernando Grande-Marlaska announced that, while the alert remains activated and work is being done to recover normality, the task has already begun to assess the damage caused. "We have started to do this so as to study and design the necessary aid within the legally established parameters and for all those people affected, although in order to have a final assessment of the whole situation we will need to wait until the adverse meteorological episodes we are witnessing have concluded".

Mobilisation of resources and personnel from 5 January

The minister indicated that the State has deployed, from the first warning made by the State Meteorological Agency on 5 January "all the resources available to ensure the integrity and health of the Spanish people".

Specifically, he listed, over recent days, between 28,000 and 48,000 members of the State law enforcement agencies have been mobilised, primarily from the Guardia Civil; 1,600 members of the traffic division of the Guardia Civil and 685 members of the Traffic Management Centres; 1,600 members of the Ministry of Defence, from the Emergency Military Unit (Spanish acronym: UME) and the rest of the armed forces, primarily the Army; 3,000 members of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda; 5,700 ADIF workers and 1,500 AENA workers, as well as 600 members of the Preventive Work Brigade attached to the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, members of Civil Protection and other emergency services. Furthermore, through the collaboration agreement with the Spanish Red Cross, the most vulnerable people in Cañada Real (Madrid) have been attended to.

The minister explained that this response, coordinated with the regional and local authorities affected through the National Civil Protection System, has primarily focused on helping those people in need, cleaning roads and guaranteeing the provision of essential services and critical infrastructures.

Inter-city train services gradually started to return to operation on Tuesday and the Madrid-Zaragoza-Barcelona high-speed line, which had been shut down, was reopened on Monday at 2 pm. Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport has also begun to operate, with 120 flights on Monday.

Civic duty and public service

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Ricardo GalánThe Minister for Home Affairs expressed, on behalf of the government, his condolences over the five people who died due to the storm, in Fuengirola (Malaga), Zarzalejos (Madrid) and Barcelona, and wished the driver of the snow-plough who had an accident while working in the province of Castellon a speedy recovery.

For her part, the Minister for the Treasury and Government Spokesperson, María Jesús Montero, thanked Spanish society for the civic spirit shown, in general, in response to the difficulties caused by the storm, the thousands of public workers for their hard work to recover normality and the healthcare workers for their efforts.

María Jesús Montero stressed that the government will continue to work side-by-side with the regional governments and local authorities and indicated that it is in situations of extreme difficulty, such as those stemming from the pandemic and Storm Filomena, that the "clear need to strengthen and revitalise public systems can be seen, which allow us to feel safe and be equal when facing adversities".

Second delivery of Pfizer vaccine and arrival of Moderna vaccine

The government analysed the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccination plan.

The Minister for Health, Salvador Illa, warned that the current situation is "worrying" because of the number of cases and the average accumulated rate of 435 per 100,000 inhabitants, and that the coming weeks will be "very tough". However, he stated that "we overcame the first and second waves and we know what needs to be done".

Salvador Illa expressed his support for the "right" measures being taken by the regional governments in line with the Strategy approved on 22 October 2020, particularly those relating to mobility restrictions, and also asked for people to reduce their social contacts and continue to apply such preventive measures as the use of face coverings, hand hygiene and social distancing.

As regards the vaccination plan, Salvador Illa explained that this has not been interrupted, despite the storm (67,000 doses administered since Friday, 8 January) and that 406,091 people have already received the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, The goal for this week, he said, is to complete the vaccination process in all care homes for the elderly and that on Monday, 18 January, the people who received the first dose can now receive the second after which they will be immunised.

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Ricardo GalánAs regards the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination, continued the minister, 360,000 doses were distributed throughout the autonomous regions on Monday (Extremadura and Granada will receive them on Tuesday and the Canary and Balearic Islands on Wednesday), in addition to the 740,000 doses already delivered. In addition, the first 35,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine reached Spain on Tuesday morning, which will be distributed between Wednesday and Thursday. In total, 599,500 doses will be received up to the third week of February from this company in three fortnightly deliveries.

The Minister for Health also announced that the company Astrazeneca made an official application on Tuesday to obtain authorisation from the European Medicines Agency to distribute its vaccine in Europe.

Mobility restrictions from United Kingdom until 2 February

Salvador Illa explained that the current limitations on flights and vessels from the United Kingdom, that was due to expire on 19 January, has been extended until 6 pm on 2 February. "Only those flights and vessels that bring Spaniards or residents of Spain and Andorra back are authorised", he pointed out.

Audit Regulation and General Chart of Accounts

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Ricardo GalánThe Council of Ministers approved the implementing regulation of the Accounts Auditing Act 22/2015, of 20 July and the reform of the General Chart of Accounts.

The aim of these rules, highlighted María Jesús Montero, is to adapt national law to EU law, and to contribute to strengthening the business sector, offering certainty and improving the reputation and confidence of investors in the productive fabric of our country.

The first Royal Decree approved sets out the conditions, requirements and formalities to be complied with by professionals that are engaged in auditing, develops a disciplinary regime and attributes the supervisory function to the Accounting and Accounts Audit Institute. The second updates the charts of accounts that govern the business sector.