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Members Speak: Our Members from the Madrid Region and Póvoa de Varzim share fresh examples where local and regional authorities anticipate EU action to combat the pandemic  

About one year after the outbreak of COVID19 in Europe, local and regional authorities continue to play their part in ensuring the health and safety of our citizens.

The Comunidad de Madrid, whose President Isabel Natividad Díaz Ayuso (EPP) sits in the CoR shared two innovative initiatives via the CoR COVID-19 Exchange Platform. The new Vigía System is an online detection, surveillance and display system for coronavirus in the city's wastewater. In practice the system allows to anticipate severe outbreaks at 72-hour notice – needless to say how useful this could be medical professionals and local authorities.

It is an example, like many others on the CoR's Exchange Platform that shows how local and regional politicians are providing quick and effective responses on the ground, often ahead of other levels of government. Last week the European Commission adopted a Recommendation precisely along these lines, asking Member States to put in place wastewater monitoring to track COVID-19 and its variants, share the data with competent health authorities for early detection of the presence of the virus, and identify clusters.

The Comunidad de Madrid also shared the extraordinary experience of building a new hospital, designed specifically for pandemics, in only 100 days. With a capacity of 1,008 hospital beds, Hopital Enfermera Isabel Zendal has the most advanced technology and comprehensive care treatments and is key in Madrid's capacity to combat the current and future pandemics. Read the full story here (Vigía System) and here (Hopital Enfermera Isabel Zendal) on or mobile devises, or visit our digital map on your desktop (English and Spanish).

In Portugal, Aires Pereira, Mayor of Póvoa de Varzim, shared some of the municipality's new approaches toward building more efficient and resilient local health care measures and infrastructures. The city extended an area of the local hospital and set up a vaccination center which can vaccinate up to 500 citizens each day, for free. The municipality further invested more than €1 million in social cohesion policies and to accelerate the digital transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises with a free online marketplace. Read the story here if you are using a mobile device or check it out on our map . (English and Portuguese).

To learn more about how local and regional authorities are fighting the coronavirus visit the CoR COVID-19 Exchange Platform and Safe Vaccines for Europeans webpage.