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As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread, we spoke with the Managing Director at Pyramid Temi Group’s local partner company in Spain to understand more about the current situation and which issues will become the most critical over the coming months.
Q: How is the population reacting to the spread of the virus?
A: The population has understood, contrary to the initial opinion, that the virus is more lethal than expected and above all has a destructive potential that could lead to the collapse of the health service. The population now have understood that it has to be protected even at the cost of an economic recession. At this point the general population is ready to obey and implement any measures decided upon by the government.
Q: Which system has been adopted by the provincial government?
A: One very similar to the Italian system has been adopted.
Q: Would you agree that no one/single suits all and thus individual governments must devise their own specific strategies? Which factors define your country?
A: I agree up to a point. The South Korean system has shown to be the most successful for developed countries and should be adopted as early as possible. Individual governments did not have clear continuity plans. However, I agree that every country should implement a cultural/local adaptation as the main strategy.
Amongst the factors that define the Spanish reality are: Political instability which makes hard decisions even harder to adopt; territorial tensions in some regions (Catalonia, Basque country) create distortions; and some level of initial rejection to Army, Police and Authority.
Q: How are people reacting to your government’s choice?
A: The vast majority comply with the confinement measures although only 30% support the Government of the Socialist Party (PSOE), which has made serious forecasting errors and is in part guilty of disinformation. Without doubt, at the beginning the government delayed its strategy and decisions were taken too late, this created a widespread loss of credibility.
Q: Are people following government instructions?
A: 99% are following, and they are also reporting non-compliance activities and promoting actions for unity, solidarity and patriotism as well, something unknown here in recent decades.
Q: Please describe how the private sector is being affected by the present status.
A: IBEX35 Spanish Stock Exchange has lost 25% of its value. 2-3 million jobs are expected to be suspended during the coronavirus crisis. Some of the most powerful industries in Spain are the most affected by the crisis and have been closed by Government: Tourism, Airlines, Commerce, Culture and Leisure. The rest of the companies can continue operating but a lower demand is expected in the next months.
Q: Has the government enlisted the assistance of the private security sector?
A: The Government has made few decisions regarding the involvement of the private sector, except for the control of private hospitals and the use of hotels as medical centers. Regarding the private security sector, the MININT (Ministry of Interior) has given some instructions for coordination between private and public security.
Q: What’s on your radar screen, do you have any particular fears or concerns?
A: The undervaluation of the crisis by the Spanish Government and the lack of early decisions will cause the crisis in Spain to be more serious than in other countries.
Confinement and economic paralysis is unfortunately the most effective measure to stop the spread and to shorten the critical phase of the crisis, therefore the economic recovery will be very slow and costly.
There is also the need to develop strategic sector plans for the protection of Critical Infrastructure. The crisis will pass but its effects will produce very important social and economic changes. Healthcare will become a strong issue on political agendas at the expense of others, such as migration. The technological sectors, the internet, the cloud will receive a boost with respect to labor-intensive sectors.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the interviewee. They are published in good faith and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of PTG.