The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, has said today that he will increase the Christmas restrictions if the pandemic data worsens in the coming weeks following the Constitution bank holiday. “If the development is not positive, the measures will be tightened up, ” Illa said during the presentation of the Government’s Christmas advertising campaign on Monday.

He said that that the measures that the Ministry of Health and the communities agreed last Wednesday are “already drastic” because they prevent movement between regions “except when travelling to be with relatives and friends” also adding that the Communities have room to add even more restrictions . “If the measures that we have agreed upon are complied with and the wearing of masks, social distancing and hand hygiene recommendations are respected, the situation should go well. But if these measures are not adhered to, there will be more cases, more admissions to the ICU and more deaths,” he warned.

The minister also advised that people should go to parks if they wish to walk or to exercise, instead of enclosed places, and if they want to pass on their best wishes over Christmas they should contact family and friends by video calls, instead of in person.

“I cannot put a policeman in every house,” he said. “The great weapon that Spanish society has is the awareness that it has demonstrated over the last nine months.”

Illa confirmed that half of the population will be vaccinated against the coronavirus before the summer and he also guaranteed the safety of the vaccines, “endorsed by the European regulatory framework, which is very rigorous.” “Not a millimetre of security has been sacrificed,” he reiterated.

In order to convince the 55% of Spaniards that, according to the latest survey by the Sociological Research Centre (CIS), are reluctant to be immunised, Illa has said that the Government is going to tell “the complete truth” about vaccines, appealing as he did so to all health and care workers to get vaccinated themselves so that they can help to raise awareness among the public.

Finally the minister requested “prudence” regarding the self-diagnostic antibody tests that will begin to be sold this week in pharmacies, and that will allow members of the public to test themselves for coronavirus.

These tests, Illa stressed, are endorsed by the European Union, but “they are not absolute, nor are they a security passport, but a photo of the moment.”

The general director of Public Health, Pilar Aparicio, explained that anyone who performs a self-diagnostic test which records a positive result must then confirm it with a PCR test in a health centre.