SPAIN will most likely avoid another COVID-19 lockdown, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

Director of WHO’s Public Health and Environment department Maria Neira told Efe yesterday that a new confinement of the population would have to be justified by a ‘very alarming’ epidemiological scenario.

And while there has been an increase in cases, Neira said the circumstances that would call for another lockdown simply do not exist.

It comes as the Euro Weekly News claimed in an article today that Spain was entering another planned three-phase lockdown from September 18.

No government sources have backed up that claim and the Olive Press has asked for a comment from the Spanish government.

“When you see how the Canary Islands are, how the Balearics are, Asturias, Galicia … there are many places in the country where the situation has been controlled,” Neira said.

“For this reason, at present a new massive confinement is not necessary.”

She added: “It (lockdown) should be avoided as much as possible due to the economic and mental health consequences, and because basic health services cease being provided.”

The WHO chief went on to describe any future mass confinements as ‘very painful measures, with very strong consequences’, adding that their use must be ‘totally exceptional.’

To avoid this extreme measure, the WHO advises mass testing, a robust contact tracing programme and quarantines.

Spain has been ramping up its testing since the end of lockdown and Neira believes that is why it has the highest number of reported cases in Europe.

She said: “Spain has increased its testing a lot and that gives part of the answer, because the more tests there are, the better information we have about the real situation. It allows us to react as quickly as possible.”

She was not against local lockdowns when necessary.

“You can apply these almost surgical scalpel measures instead of having to perform amputation surgery,” she told Efe.

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