The complaints of two of the groups most involved in the fight against the coronavirus seem to have had little effect on the Government.
In a new document, “Action and procedures for occupational risk prevention services against exposure to SARS-CoV-2” , whose signatories include the UGT and CCOO unions, the Security Forces military and prison officials and warders are all deemed to be ‘very low risk’ as are public transport drivers, firefighters and other security personnel
The document refers to those “people who do not have direct contact with the public or, if they do, it occurs at a distance of more than two metres, or they have ‘collective protection measures to avoid contact’, such as a glass partition.
By “close contact” the authorities refer mainly to Healthcare workers, people who have provided care to someone who has, or who has had, symptoms of the virus, or to cohabitants, relatives and any other people who have been in the same place as someone with symptoms, at a distance less than 2 metres for a period of at least 15 minutes.
Health workers who do not have contact with infected persons, such as “guards, stretcher-bearers or cleaners” are considered as “low risk exposure” as are general workers, Laboratory staff and home help staff who support non-infected personnel.
The Ministry of Health says that this classification is key for the protection of workers because, as indicated, in cases of “low probability of exposure”, they conclude that the use of protective equipment is “not necessary”. They could only require “respiratory protection and protective gloves” in “certain situations” such as “the lack of cooperation of someone who might be infected”.
Despite the unions denouncing a lack of means of protection among their agents and even submitting a legal complaint against the Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, for “reckless murder” in signing the protocol today, and acknowledging the police and civil guards as professions at low risk of contagion, in less than 24 hours they now seem to have completely reversed their stance.