Last Tuesday, 24th March, all mayors and mayoresses of the Marina Alta held a telematic meeting with administration and health directors of Marina Salud.

Among the different topics related to the pandemic, some of the mayors asked that, given the proliferation of solidarity initiatives in the manufacture of protective masks, the hospital directors should give accurate information on the use of these types of homemade materials, the safety of their development and distribution and the real need that the hospital had at this point.

The decision of medical professionals was clear: no masks are needed, and unfortunately, they are not effective to prevent contagion. In addition, public administrations are managing the arrival of sanitary equipment with all of the necessary guarantees.

Given this information, it was decided that the next day Marina Salud would issue a statement with these instructions.

Surprisingly, the next day, the health department simply said that it did not need more masks: “we appreciate the effort and solidarity, but we report that, at the moment, the Department of Health Denia does not require more solidarity masks.'[https://www.marinasalud.es/marea-solidaria), forgetting to give professional information about their effectiveness and the possible risk of contagion.

That is why from our town council we think that public institutions have to be responsible and ensure above all the well-being and health of our citizens. Therefore, we can not do anything other than follow the advice and professional guidelines (Vicent Salvà, supervisor of the ICU at the Hospital de Dénia: “ Wearing a mask is very good, but it is more important that we are careful with what we touch. We must maintain strict hygiene of our hands, which are the primary vehicle by which the virus travels and spreads”, https://www.denia.com/vicent-salva-supervisor-de-la-uci-vivimos-con-preocupacion-y-cierta-angustia-esta-situacion-que-nos-afecta-y-de-muy-cerca/; Guadalupe Fontán, nurse, co-author of the protocols COD 19: “For those who are not health workers, the use of a mask and gloves can even be counter-productive. There are only three truly effective measures (distance, hand washing and avoid touching your face)”. https://www.cuatro.com/cuatroaldia/sociedad/medidas-eficaces-coronavirus_18_2918220160.html).

Therefore, despite considering that citizen collaboration has reached limits worthy of admiration, and contradictory to how it may seem, we believe that we must follow the hospital and health authority guidelines before the public social initiative, however commendable it may be. If hospital and health guidelines change, we will change our position. In the meantime we only ask the population one thing, which has been requested by the administration: Stay at home, take care of hygiene, especially hands, and keep your social safety distance. This is the best way to fight the virus.