I have received a private comment asking about the role of civil protection during COVID.This is what I answered:About COVID, we asked everyone about their role on it.
Basically the picture I got is: public health is delegated to the ministry of health, and in particular pandemics are seen as the business of the Centre of Sanitary Alerts (CCAES) The CCAES does have an early warning system, but we could not talk to them and we don’t know how the systems reacted to COVID.
In the civil prot side, they basically did nothing until the govn declared an alarm state. It is not clear if the activation was urged by the CCAES, civil protection or if it came from up top. After the alarm state was declared, civil prot organized decentralised committees at the state, autonomy and municipal level to monitor the situation and discuss next steps. These committees incorporated public health experts, civil prot servants and other public and private figures with relevant expertise.
The military “forces” under command of civil protection (the UME) were mobilized, but they lacked expertise on dealing with pandemics and basically were ordered to help disinfect hospitals and other public places, even after it became obvious that the pandemic was airborne and that disinfecting helped little.
In general I think that the civil prot response was good and prompt once they were ordered to act. In particular, I think the decentralised response involving several expertise was as good as could have been given their lack of preparation.
But they weren’t able to anticipate and react to early signs and their own forces were unprepared for a pandemic. It would also have helped to have mapped out in advance who were relevant experts to consult at every level of the system