News - GMV fighting COVID-19

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News - GMV fighting COVID-19
N° 74. Special Edition

                         GMV fighting
News - GMV fighting COVID-19

   Covclear, to ensure a safer
   return to work
   Covclear is a mobile control app created and developed by GMV to make sure offices will
   be a safe workplace while minimizing the risk posed to the health of employees or other
   persons who are working in open workplaces in an environment of maximum safety and

   Born originally from the company’s own need and developed in collaboration with
   medical- and privacy-experts, Covclear is fruit of GMV’s previous experience and
   expertise in the development of mobile apps and technology.

   To find out more:
News - GMV fighting COVID-19
N° 74
Special Edition

Published                                            4   LETTER FROM THE GENERAL MANAGER

                                                     5   LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

Marta Jimeno, Marta del Pozo.
                                                         THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: A WATERSHED IN MANKIND’S C21ST
Area Heads                                               LIFESTYLE
Antonio Hernández, Miguel Ángel Molina,
José Prieto, Javier Zubieta.                             - Showing the space sector’s solidity and strategic importance
                                                          Jorge Potti, General Manager Space
Antonio Abascal, Jorge Alonso, Luis Javier               - The strategic importance of aeronautics-, defense- and security-activities
Álvarez, Mar Andrés, Alfredo M. Antón, Antonio            Manuel Pérez Cortés, General Manager of Defense and Security
Manuel Araujo, Luis Fernando Álvarez-Gascón,
Isabel Bachiller, Jesus David Calle, María Jesús         - The Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) sector in times of COVID-19
Calvo, Maole Cerezo, João Miguel Cintra, Pablo            Miguel Ángel Martínez Olagüe, General Manager Intelligent Transportation Systems
Colmenarejo, Enrique Crespo, Marta Cueto,
Neusa de Almeida Cunha, Marco Donadio, Diego             - Towards a more innovative, digital and sustainable recovery
Escobar, Pedro Fernandes, Jaime Fernandez,                Luis Fernando Álvarez-Gascón, General Manager of Secure e-Solutions
Teresa Ferreira, Raquel Fernández, Alberto
de la Fuente, Pablo García, Roberto García,
Alberto Nicolás Gentil, Javier Gómez, Jonás
                                                    15   THE HEALTHCARE SECTOR UP AGAINST THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
Gómez, Carlos González, David González, Pedro
                                                         - María Neira, Director of the Public Health, Environment and Social Determinants of Health
González, Kevin Grant, Sergi Güell, Cristina
Hernández, Rachel Jenkins, Marta Jimeno,                  Department of the World Health Organization (WHO)
Rafał Krzysiak, Fátima López, Antonio Lozano,
                                                         - Carlos Castillo-Salgado, Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Global Public Health
Arturo Martín, Belén Martín, Miguel Ángel
Martínez, Carlos Jesús Moreno, Héctor Naranjo,            Observatory of Johns Hopkins University
José Neves, Antonio Pastor, Manuel Pérez,
                                                         - Julio García Pondal, Medical Director and acting manager of the Hospital Universitario
Eric Polvorosa, Jorge Potti, Marta del Pozo,
                                                          Puerta de Hierro Majadahonda
Ignacio Ramos, Enrique Rivero, Irma Rodríguez,
Leticia Rodríguez, Javier Sanz, Daniel Sánchez,          - Juan José Pérez Blanco, General manager of the concessionaire company Hospital
Fabrizio Saponaro, Tatiana Teresa, María Victoria
                                                          Majadahonda, S.A. and director of operations of the IFEMA COVID-19 Hospital
                                                         - Humberto Arnés, CEO of Farmaindustria
Art, design and layout
Paloma Casero, Verónica Arribas.
                                                    29   TALENT IN THE TIMES OF COVID-19

MORE INFORMATION                                         - A chance to look back and learn lessons for the future                                         Ignacio Ramos Gorostiola, Chief People Strategy & Infrastructure Officer
+34 91 807 21 00
                                                         - GMV Talent

Magazine Nº. 74. Second quarter of 2020
© GMV, 2020                                         40   GMV AT PRESENT

                                                              3    GMV NEWS 74
News - GMV fighting COVID-19
Letter from the
general manager

                   JESÚS B. SERRANO
                   “The war slipped in silently, without        wishes for a quick recovery for everyone
                   knocking first. Its greeting was an          who has suffered from the illness and is
                   implosion and we collapsed. Life,            still getting over it.
                   bypassing time, was hung up on a peg.
                   Our identity floated off into a white        We at GMV are well aware of our huge
                   sea. Then we were always behindhand.         responsibility towards our clientele
                   Distance irrupted, inundating all, leaving   and the public at large. Prioritizing the
                   no space. Uncertainty choked us while        health of our staff, we have managed
                   onlookers gawped. And we got lost            to stifle the pandemic’s impact on our
                   in a swamp of imposed choices and            operations. Teleworking has been set up
                   begging for it all to stop. We were left     for practically the whole staff, except
                   floating every day in the inertia of all     for essential services in our offices. This
                   these tears. Like puppets. There was         was made possible by the commitment
                   no pattern, no rules or truce. We simply     and responsibility of each and every
                   floated. Drifting. When we got to the        one of GMV’s personnel, as well as the
                   other shore the undertow told us spring      flexibility and understanding of our
                   had gone.”                                   clients where mobility restrictions did
                                                                inevitably impinge on our operations.
                   What better way of rendering a
                   well-deserved tribute to healthcare          It’s possible that in the distant future
                   professionals than the worlds of a young     everything will be virtual with no
                   doctor at the start of her career, who       personal interactions at all. In the short
                   has suffered the pandemic in the front       term, however, although there will be
                   line? In the name of GMV we would like       a before and after of this pandemic, I’m
                   to hail all healthcare personnel who         sure personal interaction will still be
                   have risked their own lives to save          crucial in our personal and professional
                   others and have lived in the maelstrom       lives. We’ll therefore have to live with
                   of the pandemic, suffering daily in          the virus, carrying out our personal
                   empathy with their patients at work and      and professional activities with due
                   their relatives at home.                     application of necessary protection
                                                                measures to reduce the risk of contagion
                   Last day of June 2020. The figures are       for ourselves, our relatives, friends and
                   harrowing: over ten million COVID-19         workmates.
                   cases and over half a million deaths
                   worldwide. If the death of a single          We at GMV will be more than
                   relative, a single friend or acquaintance    ever determined to spearhead the
                   is painful, how much pain must have          development of hi-tech innovation,
                   been generated by the death of over          deeply proud of what we do, because
                   five hundred thousand people? Not to         situations like this bring out the huge
                   mention the pain and suffering of the        importance of working towards a
                   millions of people who have suffered         knowledge-based society.
                   the disease. My heartfelt condolences go
                   out to all clients, employees, partners,     Jesús B. Serrano
                   collaborators and suppliers who have
                   lost a loved one in this pandemic and my

News - GMV fighting COVID-19
Letter from
                                                                                         the president

The COVID-19 pandemic poses an               of all patients, be it of COVID-19 or of
unprecedented challenge that can             other illnesses, the next challenge is to
be overcome only with a responsible          recover our lost freedoms, pick up all of
attitude from the whole society. A new       our activities and restore those human
and therefore unknown illness that can       interactions that are impossible online,
be slight or even asymptomatic in some       doing so without causing another
cases and lethal in others has forced us     coronavirus spike.
all to take drastic measures. We’ve had
to accept curtailment of basic freedoms      The solution to the pandemic lies in
in our personal and professional lives,      science, with an unparalleled amount of
while economic activity has ground to        resources now being spent worldwide
a halt.                                      to speed up development of a vaccine
                                             and treatment for the disease.
GMV is not immune to this situation,         Technology, well used, is the solution to
but we’ve managed to get over this           limit the damage until then and to come
first stage without too many problems        out of this crisis all the stronger.
and have even been able to continue
growing as a firm and take on new staff.     Mónica Martínez
This success is due to a host of factors.
Our IT prowess enabled us to broaden
existing teleworking arrangements
and roll them out for the whole staff.
Early preparation owing to our risk
management culture, together with an
unflagging effort by our IT team enabled
us to get these systems up and running
even before the lockdown hit. This same
culture has pushed us to uphold a solid
financial position that now enables us
to manage delays in cash-flow, partly
due to travel restrictions making it
impossible to complete certain project
milestones, partly due to the difficulties
some of our clients are going through.

But the main factor that has been
key to our success in weathering the
storm is the determination of GMV’s
exceptional team to keep their projects
going, adapting their ways of working
and communicating to suit.

Once the prime goal of reducing the
crippling strain on health resources is
achieved to enable optimal treatment

                                                          5    GMV NEWS 74
News - GMV fighting COVID-19

 Last December a local SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in the Chinese city        HOW IT ALL BEGAN; WHAT
 of Wuhan proved to be the start of a worldwide epidemic and          WE KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS
                                                                      Sars-CoV-2 (COVID-19) was first
 healthcare crisis affecting all five continents, taking a terrible
                                                                      detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan
 death toll and bringing the world’s economy to a grinding halt.      on 1 December 2019. It bears at least
 Current forecasts, moreover, are continually lengthening the         a 70% resemblance to the Severe
 likely recovery time once the pandemic is over.                      Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
                                                                      epidemic in 2002-2003. On 9 January
                                                                      2020 the first COVID-19 death occurred
 Disbelief and consternation, hospitals teetering on the brink        in Wuhan; by 19 January 201 cases had
 of collapse, shortage of stocks and respirators, inefficient         been detected in three countries: China,
 testing systems, shaky epidemiology models and studies,              Thailand and Japan. Cases came to light
                                                                      in Europe in late January with deaths
 healthcare personnel and front-line employees affected,              in Europe by mid-February. By the end
 balcony applause, purblind politicians, rampant fake news,           of February over 85,000 cases had
 researchers rushed off their feet, vaccines promised in              been detected and the virus was now
                                                                      present in all continents. On 11 March
 record time, lockdown, social distancing, the importance
                                                                      the World Health Organization declared
 of wearing facemasks, teleworking, reconciliation of home            the outbreak to be a pandemic; on
 and working lives, online education. The COVID-19 pandemic           14 March Spain, taking its cue from
 has temporarily changed our lives and made us think hard             other countries, enforced a national
                                                                      lockdown. By the end of June the
 about the future. And even though the situation is now               worldwide toll was over 10,450,628
 less frenetic, until a vaccine or effective virus treatment is       cases and more than 510,632 deaths in
 available, we are still a long way from the end.                     193 countries.

News - GMV fighting COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic: a watershed in mankind’s C21st lifestyle

                  The coronavirus
           pandemic: a watershed
               in mankind’s C21st

There are still many unanswered          Bangladesh, Canada and South Africa,            public transport and much traveling
questions about COVID-19. The            while China, the original epicenter of          abroad.
incidence and death-rate picture is so   the pandemic back in December 2019,
patchy that the scientific community     has officially recorded over 83,000             The age structure seems to be another
has not been able to reach a reliable    cases.                                          important factor in COVID-19 incidence,
consensus.                                                                               as well as the particular sociability
                                         Attempts to solve the undercounting             mores of each country: some cultures
As of late June the most severely        of cases are still hit and miss, varying        tend to keep a greater distance while
affected country in the world was the    as records are updated and the illness          others favor closer physical contact of
United States, with over 2.6 million     continues to evolve, especially outside         hands, faces and bodies.
cases and more than 127,000 deaths,      western countries. This patchiness
followed by Brazil, which has topped     is even worse if we factor in the               Bearing all this in mind, the most
one million cases and 58,000 deaths,     asymptomatic or almost unnoticeable             affected countries should be the ones
and Russia, with nearly 646,000 cases    infections.                                     with the highest age profiles, large
and a relatively low death figure of                                                     built-up areas with high population
9300.                                    Bearing in mind the virus’s main                density, high mobility levels and a
                                         transmission vectors, its spread                tendency to physical closeness. This
Next in line come India with over        depends heavily on certain factors              does tally with Spain and other western
566,000 cases and the UK, with over      such as population density and travel           European countries but it doesn’t
314,000. Peru, Spain, Chile and Italy    flows with areas that have developed            always prove a perfect fit elsewhere.
have all recorded about 250,000 cases,   high rates. This would account for the          Japan, for example, the country with
while Iran, Germany, Turkey, Pakistan    lower incidence in low-population-              the oldest population, high population
and Mexico are approaching the           density, less-connected countries and           density and interconnections with China,
200,000 threshold. Below the 100,000     the higher rate in large conurbations           the eye of the storm, has recorded very
threshold are France, Saudi Arabia,      with high dwelling occupancy, crowded           few deaths.

                                                     7   GMV NEWS 74
News - GMV fighting COVID-19

And although social-distancing, the          on lessons learnt from their own and        and subsequent 7.3% recovery; Mexico,
widespread wearing of facemasks and          others’ experience, so, in a way, all are   with a 10.5% drop and 3.3% recovery
use of mobile Apps have all served as        learning from each other in a continual     afterwards; the UK with a 10.2% fall to
protection measures, it is highly likely     feedback of experiences, successes and      claw back 6.3%; or Brazil, with a 9.1%
that there are other salient factors too.    failures.                                   downturn and subsequent 3.6% rise.
The first scientific studies have been
putting forward explanations such            ECONOMIC IMPACT                             For Germany the IMF is predicting a
as different virus strains or genetic        Assessing the impact of a crisis            smaller fall of 7.8% and a subsequent
traits rendering the population more         is no easy matter. There is little          bounce back of 5.4% the following
vulnerable.                                  previous information to go on and the       year; the US is looking at an 8%
                                             geographical spread and timing is not       shrinkage and 4.5% growth in 2021 and
Another crucial element, of course,          clear yet.                                  Japan is thought likely to suffer a 5.8%
is the public health response and                                                        dip followed by 2.4% growth. In all IMF
healthcare capacities. A lack of             Now that, hopefully, the most critical      is forecasting a worldwide contraction
experience in dealing with pandemics,        pandemic phase is over, most of the         of 4.9%, much higher than last April’s
belated social distancing or                 pundits’ economic predictions are           prediction of a 3% fall and a whopping
mobility-constraint measures and poorly      distinctly downbeat.                        5.4% rebound the following year.
equipped hospitals are other key factors.
                                             The International Monetary Fund             The COVID-19 pandemic has therefore
African countries have recorded low          (IMF) has recently published its World      had a much more adverse effect than
virus death rates. This could be due         Economic Outlook, downgrading its April     originally expected in the first half of
to a more favorable blend of the             forecasts when it was predicting, for       2020, so IMF is now downgrading the
abovementioned factors plus other            example, that Spain’s GDP would dip by      pickup scenarios. It is now warning
variables that might also be important       8% this year as a result of the COVID-19    that the impact on low-income
here (climate, population levels,            crisis, rebounding by 4.3% in 2021.         households could be particularly acute,
genetics) or, conversely, to the fact                                                    undermining the steady progress made
that the illness is still spreading. Other   Now IMF is predicting for Spain the         since the nineties in reducing extreme
possible explanations are greater            world’s biggest shrinkage, plummeting       poverty and inequality around the
experience in dealing with epidemics or      12.8% this year. According to this IMF      world.
simply faulty recording of cases.            report, only Italy would suffer a similar
                                             fall: 12.8% this year to pick up by 6.3%    Although acknowledging that some
Amidst all this uncertainty                  the following year. France is close         countries, especially in Europe, have
governments are basing their policies        behind these two, with a 12.5% slide        managed to rein in the consequences

News - GMV fighting COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic: a watershed in mankind’s C21st lifestyle

by setting up an effective gig economy,     necessary wherewithal to deal with               businesses going, so across-the-board
IMF is nonetheless pointing out that        any second wave, while also asking               digitization (including digital health
the hours lost in Q1 were tantamount        richer countries to help others with             technologies, which have come in
to 130 million jobs, according to figures   fewer healthcare resources, even with            really handy during the pandemic for
of the International Labor Organization     cash handouts if necessary.                      monitoring, identifying and guiding
(ILO), expecting this figure to top 300                                                      citizens’ health) would now seem
million in Q2.                              And just important as the depth of               to be essential in these new times.
                                            the dip is its duration in time. This, in        Furthermore, technology like robotics,
The IMF in fact is continually updating     turn, will depend on the duration of             artificial intelligence and big data now
its predictions, always with the caveat     the epidemic itself, the contagion rate,         needs to be taken up by all sectors,
that COVID-19’s trend cannot be             herd immunity levels and the alacrity            with cybersecurity to the fore as a
second-guessed. Countries still fighting    in developing vaccines or effective              guarantee of trustworthiness. The
to control virus spread will need to        treatment.                                       so-called “new normality” is here to
keep lockdown conditions in force                                                            stay for a while and the demand for
longer, with an inevitable additional       TRANSFORMATION OF                                digital working schemes is soaring.
cost to their economic activity.            PRODUCTIVE MODELS
                                            The world has now seen a digital                 Countries’ recovery will have to be
As for countries with falling infection     acceleration that was unthinkable only           underpinned by a new reliance on
rates, IMF explains its more pessimistic    three months back, and some fleet-               strategic and forward-looking sectors,
outlook in terms of the following           footedness has been called for adapt             knitting together the industrial fabric
factors: a slower pickup than originally    to this new situation.                           and generating quality jobs. Specific
envisaged as social distancing                                                               plans will have to be implemented,
measures are maintained, activity hit       Even before the COVID-19 pandemic,               factoring in the new features of
harder than expected in Q1 and Q2           pundits were flagging up problems in             digitization, mobility and sustainability.
of 2020 and an additional brake on          countries’ productive models. If we
productivity as companies that have         now factor in the pandemic’s effects,            THE AFTERMATH AND
weathered the storm increase their          therefore, these shortfalls need to              SUSTAINABILITY
workplace health and safety protocols.      be urgently addressed, turning this              Environmental concerns are looming
                                            new situation, if possible, into a               large in this crisis. There seems to be a
IMF is also urging all countries,           transformation opportunity.                      general consensus that this pandemic
including those that have ostensibly                                                         is closely bound up with the ongoing
passed the peak infection rate, to make     Many sectors have suddenly had to                destruction of ecosystems, illegal
sure their healthcare systems have the      take up digital tools to keep their              trafficking of animals and globalization.

                                                         9   GMV NEWS 74
News - GMV fighting COVID-19
ARTICLE                                                                                  The coronavirus pandemic: a watershed in mankind’s C21st lifestyle

                                                                                                            world where natural catastrophes
                                                                                                            seldom occur. Sars-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
                                                                                                            has therefore come as a harsh reality
                                                                                                            check, betraying the underlying
                                                                                                            vulnerability of today’s societies. For
                                                                                                            the first time in many generations a
                                                                                                            real threat has been hovering over us
                                                                                                            on a daily basis. We need to become
                                                                                                            aware of the economic, social and
                                                                                                            healthcare challenge that is still
                                                                                                            awaiting us.

                                                                                                            We are dealing here with an
                                                                                                            unprecedented situation and the
                                                                                                            psychological scars it might leave
                                                                                                            are hard to predict. Post traumatic
                                                                                                            stress disorder would seem most
                                                                                                            likely for those who have been
                                                                                                            hardest hit by the pandemic but no
                                                                                                            one is immune. Factor in too the high
                                                                                                            number of deaths of loved ones and
                                                                                                            the impossibility on many occasions
                                                                                                            of bidding them farewell properly, and
                                                                                                            post-pandemic depression scenarios
Ironically, one of the most striking                  time many voices are being raised                     seem even likelier.
effects of the economic slowdown,                     urging us to take advantage of the
with the concomitant fall in activity,                transformation opportunities offered by               Of course we’ve learnt a lot from
energy demand and travel, has been an                 the “new normality”.                                  this crisis. The experience has been
upturn in many environmental indices.                                                                       harrowing but there is reason for
Nature seems to be on the mend; toxic                 Special mention here must go to the                   optimism too. The scientific community
emissions and GHG emissions have                      contribution made by environment-                     is making an unprecedented effort to
both dropped; noise levels have fallen                monitoring space infrastructure. The                  decipher the virus and find out the best
too, with beneficial effects for human                Copernicus program, for example,                      way of combating it. Probably never
health and urban ecosystems. Although                 led by the European Commission, in                    before in the history of humankind
desirable, however, this flash-in-the-                collaboration with the European Space                 has so much information been shared
pan effect has been achieved at a                     Agency, is now inputting environmental                between teams from different
heavy cost for a society already hit                  data and tools of vital importance                    countries or such a huge collective
hard by a health crisis.                              for making further headway in                         effort been made. This is good news
                                                      COVID-19 research and monitoring the                  because the long-term solution can
Conversely, one of the lockdown                       atmosphere of virus-affected areas.                   come only from shared knowledge and
effects has been a relegation of                      The information given by such systems                 concerted effort.
environmental concerns due to the                     is in general precise, timely and easily
healthcare emergency. The surge in                    accessible in the ongoing effort to                   In the future maybe other pandemics
single-use plastic, moreover, could act               improve environmental management,                     await us. Other challenges, health-
as a further drag in the fight against                mitigate climate change and guarantee                 based or otherwise, might also lie in
pollution.                                            safety.                                               store for us. Without the support of
                                                                                                            science and technology we are unlikely
The economic downturn sparked off                     FUTURE                                                to be able to cope with them. And the
by the pandemic is starving the UN’s                  Wars, nowadays, tend to happen                        carrying out of hi-tech, forward-looking
Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development                   well beyond our borders; we are also                  initiatives is precisely GMV’s strong
Goals of resources. At the same                       lucky enough to live in a part of the                 suit.

The information given herein is general in character. We have striven to make sure it is accurate and up to date at the time of writing but we cannot
guarantee there have not been other further changes by the time you are reading it.

Sources: Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, official health ministries, World Health Organization, IMF, Elcano Royal Institute for
International and Strategic Studies (Real Instituto Elcano de Estudios Internacionales y Estratégicos), KPMG.


Jorge Potti
General Manager Space
                                                                                               biggest industrial group, behind only the
                                                                                               great French, Italian and German groups. In
                                                                                               Spain 1 out of every 4 engineers working in
                                                                                               the space sector does so in GMV.

                                                                                               The widespread shock and worldwide
                                                                                               crisis sparked off by COVID-19 should not
                                                                                               have a negative impact on the space
                                                                                               sector in the medium or long term. Quite
                                                                                               the contrary. This crisis has brought
                                                                                               out the strategic importance of the
                                                                                               space sector, underlining its essential
                                                                                               role in the provision of services such as
                                                                                               communications, the environment, geo-
                                                                                               information, transport, healthcare and
                                                                                               security. All the world’s great economies
                                                                                               have unanimously reaffirmed the strategic
                                                                                               value of the space sector. Its ongoing
                                                                                               contribution to society, its innovativeness
                                                                                               and value-creation capacity all bode well
                                                                                               for the future.

                                                                                               For GMV the space programs of the
                                                                                               European Union and the ESA are crucial.

Showing the space sector’s solidity and                                                        We look to them as a benchmark and
                                                                                               they inspire us to our greatest feats of

strategic importance                                                                           technological development. At the end
                                                                                               of 2019 Seville hosted the ESA’s Council
                                                                                               at Ministerial Level. It turned out to be
               he space sector, albeit          special industry support measures set up       a notable success, chalking up record

   T           less exposed than other
               industrial sectors, has hardly
               come unscathed through
                                                by ESA, the European Commission and
                                                EUMETSAT, among others. Add to that our
                                                teams’ technological savviness, boundless
                                                                                               subscription levels for the whole set of
                                                                                               member states and many of the countries
                                                                                               where GMV does business. At the moment
these months of pandemic. Some                  creativity, upbeat commitment and              we are eagerly awaiting EU’s ratification
programs have fallen behind schedule;           unflagging endeavor. Over 90% of our staff     of a space program of equal stature for
some launch bases and factories have            are now working from their homes but           the 2021-27 period. This would establish
been shut down; production has run              we have nonetheless managed to keep            a comforting window of certainty for us
into difficulties; supply chains have been      up our normal rate of production, hitting      to create cutting-edge technology, swell
broken; events have been cancelled;             project deadlines while carrying out a brisk   our value chain, break into international
payments have fallen into arrears               commercial activity. And we have never         markets and up our investment level to
and financial markets have creaked at           stopped recruiting; GMV has continued to       suit.
the seams. GMV has faced up to this             grow throughout this whole period.
situation with great resilience and                                                            We at GMV reaffirm our unflinching
responsibility. Our number-one priority         We at GMV are ever mindful of the              commitment to our employees and our
– the safety of our staff and society as        responsibility that goes with our              society. We will continue spearheading
a whole permitting – has been to keep           leadership and specific weight in the          technological development to help Spain’s
our operations going, our products on           whole set of Spain and Europe’s space          companies create new jobs, wealth and
delivery and our services running.              industry. We currently have 1,300 people       nurture the welfare and security of all our
                                                working in the space sector, representing      fellow citizens.
We have got through these months with           3% of the European industry’s upstream
the support of our clients, particularly the    workforce. This makes us Europe’s 6th          Space still has a brilliant future ahead of it.

                                                             11   GMV NEWS 74

Manuel Pérez Cortés
General Manager of Defense and Security
                                                                                    might be irreparable. In the specific
                                                                                    case of defense, it would also imply
                                                                                    a loss of national sovereignty. These
                                                                                    are strategically important industrial
                                                                                    sectors; their exporting and innovation
                                                                                    capacity also galvanize the whole

                                                                                    Essential measures include
                                                                                    continuance of the major defense
                                                                                    programs such as the F-110 frigates,
                                                                                    already underway, or the VCR 8x8
                                                                                    vehicle, as well as the aeronautics
                                                                                    trainer or the decided commitment
                                                                                    to the FCAS/NGWS project. These
                                                                                    programs are not only necessary for
                                                                                    armed forces’ operation; they also
                                                                                    have a huge knock-on effect and job-
                                                                                    generating capacity. This has to go
                                                                                    hand in hand with a reinforcement of
                                                                                    defense R&D.

                                                                                    Another key factor in this reactivation
                                                                                    process is the European Development

The strategic importance of                                                         Fund (EDF), which the European
                                                                                    Commission’s has trimmed back for

aeronautics-, defense- and security-                                                the coming years. Fundamental here is
                                                                                    the Ministry of Defense’s support for

activities                                                                          the participation of Spanish companies
                                                                                    in these funds as well as the increase
                                                                                    in the money earmarked for this
             taff-wide teleworking in    the force-majeure justification of         participation. Especially gratifying

   S         a company like GMV, at
             first brought in due to
                                         any breaches to signed contracts.
                                         The Ministry of Defense, from the
                                                                                    here is the fact that, according to the
                                                                                    recently announced results of the
             external circumstances,     word go and from the very top level,       EDIDP 2019 program, GMV is one of the
has turned out to be a hugely potent     offered GMV help in meeting any            few European firms selected to work
and efficient way of continuing our      of its needs in this extraordinary         in 4 projects.
activity. The technological resources    situation. Equally noteworthy was the
made available by GMV have               flexibility of international aeronautics   It’s hard to read the future. But there is
guaranteed business continuity in        and defense-and-security agencies          no doubt that the aeronautics, defense
the areas of aeronautics, defense and    we traditionally work with, like           and security industries will not be
security plus continual online contact   FRONTEX, EDA, the European External        immune to the economic crisis sparked
between all staff members, clients       Action service (EEAS) and the NATO         off by the coronavirus pandemic. Some
and partners.                            Communications and Information             effects are already evident in the
                                         Agency (NCIA).                             supply chain, production centers and
Clients and government authorities                                                  exportation. GMV, however, has been
have also risen to the challenge,        Up to now GMV’s aeronautics, defense       investing for decades in R&D and the
tackling the constraints we have         and security activities have suffered      development of various technological
all had to tussle with. They have        no great disruption. Even so, if the       skills; this has enabled it to win pole
pulled out all the stops in order to     lockdown-exiting strategy fails to         position in these sectors and build up a
offer instant support and recognize      reinforce these sectors, the effects       worldwide trade around them.


Miguel Ángel Martínez Olagüe
General Manager Intelligent Transportation Systems
                                                                                       clients of the two main markets
                                                                                       we work in, public transport and
                                                                                       the automotive industry, have been
                                                                                       severely affected by the pandemic,
                                                                                       some of them seeing a 95% revenue
                                                                                       drop. The impact on many of our
                                                                                       clients is also likely to be long-lasting,
                                                                                       well beyond the health crisis itself,
                                                                                       since pre- COVID-19 mobility levels will
                                                                                       be difficult to recover. Some changes
                                                                                       like teleworking or videoconferencing
                                                                                       have been more widely taken up
                                                                                       and are now here to stay, reducing
                                                                                       the future mobility demand. On the
                                                                                       other hand, the severe economic
                                                                                       crisis is going to hit this demand hard

                                                                                       The medium- to long-term impact
                                                                                       of this shrinking mobility demand
                                                                                       on the ITS industry in general and
                                                                                       on GMV in particular is very hard to
                                                                                       predict at the moment. The truth is
                                                                                       that we are now witnessing a big

The Intelligent Transportation                                                         slump in our clients’ new initiatives;
                                                                                       if this lasts throughout the rest

Systems (ITS) sector in times of                                                       of the year, the 2021 effect will be
                                                                                       big. It is obvious that our clients

COVID-19                                                                               currently have bigger things to
                                                                                       think about than modernization and
                                                                                       phasing in new systems, but these
             ue to the type of ITS            activity deemed to be an essential       routine activities should pick up once

   D         activities GMV carries out,
             the pandemic lockdown
                                              service and never interrupted at
                                              any time was the maintenance of
                                                                                       the pandemic has passed. Our range
                                                                                       of products and services, moreover,
             had a bigger impact on           our public-transport smart systems.      is necessary for their ongoing
our department’s operations. True it          Despite all these constraints, thanks    operations, cost reduction and even
is that some activities like software         to the effort and inventiveness of our   confronting the pandemic itself with
development or electronics design, for        staff, we have managed to keep up to     greater security. Take the case of
example, lend themselves perfectly            schedule in most of our projects and     our public-transport fare payment
well to teleworking mode. Other               services.                                systems, which are cutting out
activities, however, like integration,                                                 the use of cash and thus reducing
production- or laboratory-testing             In the short term the ITS industry has   the risk of virus-spread by coins
or equipment repair call for on-site          not been especially badly affected.      and notes; another good example
presence of workers; these have been          These are development, implementation    would be ecodriving systems, which
affected at times or even shut down           or system-maintenance projects,          reduce both running costs and the
completely. Also severely constrained         sometimes involving multiannual          ecological footprint. Likewise, in a
were our activities carried out on            contracts that have not been             different area, city access control
clients’ sites, like delivery, installation   cancelled due to the COVID lockdown,     systems, which are going to be
and testing of in-vehicle onboard             though they may have suffered            necessary to manage the private
equipment. The only face-to-face              temporary delays. Nonetheless, the       vehicle’s mobility demand.

                                                         13   GMV NEWS 74

Luis Fernando Álvarez-Gascón
General Manager of Secure e-Solutions
                                                                                        sector, ICT in particular, will not be
                                                                                        the worst affected. The demand for
                                                                                        telecommunications services has soared
                                                                                        by over 50%, largely bound up with
                                                                                        the massive takeup of teleworking
                                                                                        (over 80% of companies, according to
                                                                                        some pundits), with a strong boost to
                                                                                        collaboration and cybersecurity services.
                                                                                        The sector, however, will not be immune
                                                                                        to the economic difficulties of its
                                                                                        clients. Over 40% of ICT companies have
                                                                                        issued downbeat expectations for this
                                                                                        year, while global forecasts point to a
                                                                                        slump in demand, albeit less than in the
                                                                                        economy as a whole. The devil is in the
                                                                                        detail; there are bound to be losers and
                                                                                        some big winners.

                                                                                        In any case I would argue that the
                                                                                        economy as a whole will take up
                                                                                        technology more intensively in
                                                                                        groundbreaking applications and
                                                                                        business models adapted to a new
                                                                                        context. Digitization and sustainability
Towards a more innovative, digital and                                                  are the main thrusts of companies for
                                                                                        the future. All sectors will be moving
sustainable recovery                                                                    towards greater automation and a
                                                                                        transformation of employment. Artificial
                                                                                        intelligence, the cloud, 3D printing, IoT,
             e’re still pinching ourselves   management. All these are factored         together with other sustainability-

 W           to see if the difficult
             weeks we’ve just lived
             through and the uncertain
                                             into our business project.

                                             GMV has come through the first round
                                                                                        related technologies, all taken up more
                                                                                        intensively, are going to enjoy a huge
                                                                                        leg-up, with cybersecurity and privacy
time now looming are not all just            of the pandemic with flying colors.        to the fore. Governments will have a
a bad dream after watching some              The two basic pillars have been            crucial role here, not only in terms of
science-fiction film. Our generation         the behavior of our team and the           the modernization of public services but
is facing a crisis of unprecedented          performance of our client-centered         also by launching major public-private
proportions. Other generations, much         business-continuity strategies. Neither    transformation initiatives in line with
worse off than us in terms of the            one nor the other is the result of         the pursuit of great social objectives like
arsenal of knowledge and collective          improvisation. The short-term impact       Agenda 2030.
discernment at their disposal, had their     on the business of Secure eSolutions
own challenges to confront and came          has been marginal, impinging only          All sectors will now experience an
through OK. For that reason I believe        on operations involving international      accelerated digital transformation
we should look to the future with            journeys.                                  but healthcare in particular must be
some confidence.                                                                        prompted by this pandemic to advance
                                             Imagining the future is difficult amidst   decidedly towards a concept that GMV
This experience raises a number              a systemic crisis that will pan out one    has been pursuing and developing for
of immediate issues: the value of            way or another depending on decisions      some time now, namely telemedicine
science, the importance of industry          taken at various levels. I make bold       and intensive use of data and artificial
and essential services, the potential of     to suggest that the major political        intelligence for the development of
information as a basic problem-solving       initiatives, particularly Europe’s, are    cutting-edge therapies. A promising
asset… and the importance of risk            well thought out. The technological        future beckons for GMV.

The healthcare sector up
against the coronavirus
The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic is not the first of its sort we have had
to cope with, but it is one of a kind. The concentration of people in built-up
areas and the need to travel have spread the virus practically around the
world in no time at all.

In this special edition GMV is lucky enough to be able to quiz five standout
healthcare experts, to mine their thoughts about the various aspects of this
virus and the unprecedented healthcare crisis.

Such wide ranging themes as worldwide healthcare management; the
countries’ various responses to the pandemic; the behavior of the virus
itself; vaccine-testing, -research and -availability; the role of technology
in the fight against the pandemic; the challenges and improvement
opportunities of the health system, and the lessons learnt for dealing
with any future pandemics were analyzed by this illustrious panel, made
up by María Neira, Director of the Public Health, Environment and Social
Determinants of Health Department of the World Health Organization; Carlos
Castillo-Salgado, Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Global Public
Health Observatory of Johns Hopkins University; Julio García Pondal, Medical
Director and acting manager of the Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro
Majadahonda; Juan José Pérez Blanco, General manager of the concessionaire
company Hospital Majadahonda, S.A. and director of operations of the IFEMA
COVID-19 Hospital; and Humberto Arnés, CEO of Farmaindustria.

                              15   GMV NEWS 74
The healthcare sector up against the coronavirus crisis

Director of the
Public Health,
Environment and
Social Determinants
of Health
Department of
the World Health
Organization (WHO)
María P. Neira graduated in Medicine and
Surgery from Oviedo University. She
then specialized in endocrinology and
metabolic diseases at the Université
René Déscartes in Paris, France and
subsequently in human nutrition from
the Université Pierre et Marie Curie,
in Paris, France. She also holds the
international diploma in Emergency
Preparedness and Crisis Management
granted by the University of Geneva in
Switzerland. In her early career Doctor
Neira was the medical coordinator with
Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors
without Borders) in refugee camps
in Salvador and Honduras. She later
joined the World Health Organization,
holding the posts of Director of the
Communicable Diseases Program              What are the main activities of         sanitation, air quality, pollution or
and Coordinator of the Global Task         WHO’s Public Health, Environment        chemical risk factors, ranging from
Force on Cholera Control. In 2002 she      and Social Determinants of Health       pesticides to chemical substances
moved to Madrid to take up the post        Department? As director, your remit     of daily use. We likewise keep a
of President of the Spanish Agency         includes controlling, monitoring        close eye on both ionizing and non-
of Food Security (Agencia Española         and reporting on various diseases       ionizing radiation, workplace health-
de Seguridad Alimentaria) of Spain’s       on a worldwide level. How is this       determining factors, occupational
Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs    task carried out and through which      health factors, the climate change,
(Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo de        channels?                               etc. In short, we look at all health-
España). She held an undersecretary        We (ourselves) like to classify         determining factors across the
portfolio, holding responsibility for      ourselves as the “armed wing of         board and try to promote the most
drawing up and enforcing national food     WHO’s primary prevention”, since        favorable. As for instruments and
and nutrition plans. A few years later     the department’s main activity          tools, global public health is such
she returned to Geneva to continue         is identifying which are the            a wide-ranging concept that it is
her work with WHO; in 2005 she was         environmental determinants of           necessary to work with all available
appointed Director of the Public Health,   good health or, on the contrary, the    instruments, such as legal or
Environment and Social Determinants        unleashing of a disease. We therefore   regulatory instruments, looking for
of Health Department.                      focus on water quality, hygiene,        the chance to change a law in a given

María Neira

country and ascertaining the outcome      disease control and prevention             binding rulings for health crises
of this recommendation. Science also      systems. It will also be necessary         like the current one? Are mere
plays a crucial role here; we liaise      to encourage healthier lifestyles,         recommendations really enough?
permanently with a huge number            identify vulnerabilities and build walls   When this crisis is over, I think it
of scientists and experts, including      and barriers against the spread of         will then be necessary to look back
organizations like NASA and ESA,          infectious diseases.                       and decide which global healthcare
whose data help us, for example, to                                                  architecture we want. WHO is
determine and detect a city or zone’s     In light of results, has most              currently made up by 194 countries
air quality. We use digital, awareness-   governments’ response to the               and has considerable scientific status
raising tools and basic communication     sars-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic             but little legal clout. We do have
tools. In sum, instruments and tools      recommendations been worse in              two instruments with a certain legal
to influence governments and exploit      comparison to past alerts?                 purchase, namely, the International
our leverage by bringing together         Every virus has its own story to tell.     Health Regulations and the
various international experts to make     I personally have experienced several      Framework Convention on Tobacco
recommendations, turn them into           in recent years and each one has           Control, albeit with certain limitations
public-health recommendations and,        its own special connotations. The          in the latter case. In this new global
where possible, make them legally         variations are manifold: the historical    health architecture I believe we will
enforceable.                              moment, the geopolitical moment            have to reinforce some of WHO’s
                                          and even the media response. This          mandates, such as the case of
After decades fighting against lead       pandemic has been very different for       inspection. For example, when a false
in gasoline, pesticides, high sugar-      several reasons. First and foremost,       medicament market is detected, WHO
content in processed food and             due to the role played by social media,    can issue an alert but can exert no
various illnesses, how does WHO           which now exert an unprecedented           legal authority over the matter. Or in
now tackle pandemics? What health
alerts have WHO issued?
Health alerts cannot be taken
lightly. They act as a last-ditch
                                                  «Health alerts act as a last-ditch
call-of-attention to extraordinary                call-of-attention to extraordinary
events deemed to pose a health
risk to the public health of several            events deemed to pose a health risk
nations, and calling for a concerted
international response. In WHO we              to the public health of several nations,
fight on three main fronts. Firstly,
there are interventions to ensure a
                                               and calling for a concerted international
healthy population and well-being,                             response»
including all health determinants and
how these can be reinforced to pre-
empt people falling ill. The second       influence. Another major difference        the specific case we are dealing with
front is universal health coverage,       has been the proliferation of fake         here, pandemics, these are a matter
healthcare itself and all the health      news, or even the broadcasting of          of international health security, so
systems, etc. And the third takes in      information with good intentions but       WHO could form part of the United
the whole gamut of emergency- and         on a shaky scientific basis. In this       Nations Security Council with the
epidemic-response or international        pandemic there is a permanent state        role, in these particular cases, of
health regulations, including not only    of alert, and information is proving       proposing a series of measures.
biological agents but also chemical       crucial, for good or ill. Secondly,        This look back would also have to
and radio-nuclear agents. We have to      we are now at a juncture where             take in the opposite case. There are
work on all three fronts; one cannot      the leaders of certain political or        some countries, and not especially
stand in for the other. In all, WHO has   geopolitical blocs, such as China-         small ones, that are looking to stop
issued six health alerts; when dealing    USA, are politically conditioning the      paying their WHO contributions.
with pandemics, although we try to        response and management of the             This would completely dilute WHO’s
continue working on each one, most        health crisis.                             role, putting an end to globally
of our activity involves contention.                                                 organized response to questions
This pandemic is also going to require    Just as there is a Court of Justice        that, prima facie, it makes no sense
us to try to pinpoint the factors that    of the European Union or the               to confine within geographical or
have led us this juncture. A lot of       International Court of Justice of the      administrative borders. As I say, these
work will therefore need to be done in    United Nations, both with binding          are all questions that will need to be
order to prepare for a healthier future   rulings, should there not also be          properly analyzed after the pandemic
and analyze the current infectious-       an organization with enforceably           is over.

                                                      17   GMV NEWS 74
The healthcare sector up against the coronavirus crisis

On 30 January, one month after             the planet, had never been taken.          importance in this pandemic.
the first alert about this new             This was an unprecedented step.            WHO has always been backed and
illness, launched by China, WHO            The most highly developed and              supported by major technology firms
declared a Public Health Emergency         wealthy economies, facing a grave          in the development, for example, of
of International Concern for the           problem of mental health, knock-on         information Apps and channels for
outbreak of the coronavirus sars-          socioeconomic problems and health          combating fake news. Mention must
CoV-2 (COVID-19) in the Chinese            systems buckling under a terrible          also be made of virtual platforms
city of Wuhan. Why this delay in           strain. This was certainly no bagatelle.   for holding meetings or press
launching a worldwide alert? Is it         Such arrangements call for highly          conferences. Technology, therefore,
possible that the magnitude of the         cogent and well thought-out political      has been fundamental for us and of
pandemic was underestimated?               responses. Personally, I wouldn’t like     course we believe in it. Hindsight
On 30 January, when the Public             to have been in the shoes of any of        now tells us that a tracking App at
Health Emergency of International          the heads of government who had            the start of the outbreak would have
Concern (PHEIC) was declared, the          to bring in these lockdowns. The           been a huge help. As is only logical,
number of confirmed cases outside          decision must have been daunting.          however, the original emergency
China amounted to 82 with no deaths.                                                  response focused on the most urgent
Issuing an international alert of this     Given the very different figures           aspects.
magnitude can never be taken lightly;      in confirmed cases and deaths
it is based on a decision taken by a       reported in the north and south            Until now a public-health reaction had
committee of experts, which only a         of Europe, would you say that the          never been necessary in Europe and
week earlier had been very divided in      south European countries have been         pandemics and infectious illnesses
its opinions. Things always need to        caught napping? Do you believe that        were thought to be impossible.
be placed in their context; with the       the application of advanced digital        Our epidemics were the chronic
information to hand at that time it        analysis technology, data science,         illnesses, the misnamed “epidemics”
was difficult to be certain about what     AI, Apps, etc, by the least-affected       of diabetes or obesity. An epidemic
was going to happen. Even so, on           countries has been a crucial factor in     of an infectious disease seemed
30 January the PHEIC was declared,         containing the spread?                     unthinkable in Europe. In Africa or
warning that this virus was different,     It is difficult to know now what tools     other countries, maybe, but not in
a coronavirus, and that China was          Lombardy, for instance, had to hand        Europe.
issuing alerts about the problem.          when the number of cases began
Working on the information to hand         to rise. In medicine, if the public        Are we now prepared for the next
at this time the arrangements made         health system is not able to cope,         epidemic or health crisis?
were logical and consistent with           the stress is then laid on the patient.    There would have to be many
established procedure.                     This patient-centered approach             changes in our lifestyles. First and
                                           cannot possibly deal with a public         foremost our relationship with
What about the response of other           health crisis of this size. Of course      ecosystems. Climate change, the
countries?                                 patients need to be treated, but a         loss of biodiversity, environmental
As for the reaction of other countries,
I think this aspect needs to be placed
in context too. It is true that during             «Until now a public-health reaction
January we all saw news footage
every night of what was happening
                                                   had never been necessary in Europe
in Wuhan: how a hospital was                          and pandemics and infectious
built in a few day: people wearing
space suits and PPE fumigating the                    illnesses were thought to be
streets, border closures, etc. The
general reaction was to think this                             impossible»
couldn’t happen in Europe; this is a
very human reaction. It was looked         series of more general measures also       matters, etc, are no longer a concern
at as something happening far              needs to be brought in, like isolation,    of four geeky environmentalists
away in a state with a given type          quarantines, massive testing and           or Greenpeace. It’s now a health
of political regime. Only months           contact tracing, etc. So I think it was    question. If we really want to be
later, however, countries that had         a mistake to center on the illness and     better protected and less vulnerable
never previously considered taking         its treatment. In Italy, for that very     we have to shore up these human-
measures of this type began to follow      reason, the response of Veneto is          wildlife barriers and restore our
suit, aping China’s arrangements           always quoted, where they focused          healthy relationship with ecosystems.
exactly. In recent years such              on public health. As for technology,       Most of these epidemics come from
lockdown measures, paralyzing half         there can be no doubting its crucial       animals. The human-animal barrier

María Neira

has broken down and ecosystems have         hasn’t peaked yet or that have fewer      to assimilate it properly. The different
become modified. The population-            recourses, so that they can benefit       situation in each country also has to be
density problem also needs to be            from other country’s experience           factored in. In Africa, for instance, stay-
solved. We can’t just keep on building      and thus recover more quickly and         at-home campaigns just wouldn’t work;
these huge conurbations where               efficiently? What role is technology      in many rural areas there are not even
millions of people are packed into a        playing in the knowledge transfer         any houses and rather than families
few square meters. This population          process and data handling between so      there are community clusters. And
density is a hotbed for the spread of       many different countries?                 in some areas of India hand-washing
any infectious agent. Lifestyles favoring   Meetings that once took months to         instructions would make little sense
obesity and sedentary habits also           organize and had to be held in major      when they have no soap and hardly any
need to be changed; we now know             convention centers have now been          water. In these different circumstances
they lead to diabetes and high blood        replaced by video conferences, webinars   technology could obviously be a big
pressure and it is also been proven         or virtual meetings between a huge        help in terms of passing on information
that such individuals are more prone        number of varied experts. These hardly    but deeper-lying problems still need to
to any virus-based illness. From the        require any previous organization so      be solved. It could be said that we are
other side, better epidemic-response        the information pass-on is practically    dealing here with two different worlds,
and healthcare-preparation systems          instant. Another notable advance is       one from the “Middle Ages” and another
also need to be set up, while digital-      the consolidation of teleworking. As      developed and sophisticated world,
transformation work obviously needs to      for how this experience and these         so technology savviness needs to be
be kept up.                                 advances might benefit other countries,   taken into account and governments
                                            this depends more on the human factor     need to be advised about the aspects
How is information now being passed         than technology itself. One thing is to   to be tackled or priorities to be set in
on to countries where the virus             pass on information; quite another is     different countries.

                                                       19   GMV NEWS 74
The healthcare sector up against the coronavirus crisis

Professor of
and Director of
the Global Public
Health Observatory
of Johns Hopkins
Dr. Carlos Castillo-Salgado is
chair-holding professor in
epidemiology in the Epidemiology
Department; he is affiliated also
to the departments of Population,
Family and Reproductive Health,
Health Policy and Management and
the School of Medicine of Johns
Hopkins University. He is currently
director of the Global Public Health

He graduated in law from
Guadalajara university, qualified
as surgeon at Mexico National
University and took a Master and
PhD of Public Health in Johns
Hopkins University.                        It is said that history’s great murderers   however, are a different story. It is
                                           are invisible. Despite this, have we        mainly them who have downplayed
For over 20 years he was                   overlooked the power of viruses?            their importance and brought in public
epidemiology expert and director           Scientists and epidemiologists have         health cuts.
of the PanAmerican Health                  paid close attention to the new viruses
Organization. He was a pioneer             that generated the major epidemics          The first step is clearly understanding
in the development of the new              of the 20th and 21st centuries. They        what these viruses are, how they are
epidemiology and innovations in            crop up every 4 or 5 years on a world       transmitted, how they behave and
global public-health surveillance.         level: HIV-AIDS; SARS, Influenza,           affect people. But what do we really
His scientific contributions include       Ebola, MERS-Cov, Nipah virus, Dengue,       know about the Sars-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
global public health surveillance,         Chikunguña, Lassa Fever, Rift Valley F,     virus? What makes it especially
measurement of health inequalities,        as well as those of measles, typhoid        dangerous in comparison to others
GISs in healthcare and the                 fever, cholera, hepatitis, polio virus      better known to the public at large?
development of new health metrics.         and many more. A huge advance of            Viruses leaping from an animal
                                           historical proportions is the virus         species (zoonosis) to humans, with
He has received many prizes and            genomic mapping capacity, facilitating      person-to-person contagion, pose a
awards and is epidemiology member          the development of vaccines and             huge danger to global public health.
of the Medicine Academy of Mexico.         effective treatment. World leaders,         Human beings have no immunological

Carlos Castillo-Salgado

memory of these new viruses, so            have been collaborating closely with        low, so the risk of pandemic spread
everyone is prone to infection. The        Chinese scientists in the whole process     is high. Which do you see as the
virus is highly contagious, and although   required for generating the natural         most suitable pandemic-contention
the majority of suffers have only          history of COVID-19 and have jointly        measures without going back to
slight symptoms, these then become         published the results. Generation of        lockdown?
asymptomatic carriers unwittingly          the natural history of the HIV-AIDS         Until a vaccine and effective treatment
                                                                                       are available and proven in practice,
                                                                                       the only suitable strategy is social
          «Climate change and pollution are                                            distancing, the wearing of facemasks
                                                                                       and hygiene measures. The opening up
          important co-factors in the rise or                                          of economies should not mislead us
                                                                                       into thinking that the contagion risk
          resurgence of these new viruses»                                             has been eliminated. The contagion
                                                                                       risks are still there and may yet
                                                                                       increase if the social-distancing
infecting many others. There are high      virus took several years; COVID-19,         measures are not properly enforced.
risk groups within the population such     only weeks. This has enabled us to          This is already occurring in areas, cities
as the elderly and people with chronic     ascertain the main infection-risk           and countries that have opened up too
conditions that would have a higher        factors or the death risk posed by this     soon, with new waves of contagion
risk of dying if infected unless they      virus in view of the largely unprepared     springing up in groups that have broken
receive immediate ICU treatment. Other     health systems and laggard response         social distancing rules.
viruses might be even more virulent        by most countries around the world.
but effective vaccines mean their                                                      Some firms like ours have been able
effect is lower than a new virus like      Which technological tools are you using     to keep up much of our activity by
COVID-19.                                  to study the evolution, development         means of teleworking. Even so, many
                                           and spread of epidemics and pandemics       of our operations have been affected
This is in many aspects an unknown         like COVID? In the USA, is the mining of    by social distancing measures and
virus. Do we know yet which factors        clinical and epidemiological data with      traveling restrictions. How long
affect its development and trend? Are      artificial intelligence and big data now    should we expect to live in this “new
weather, geographical area, pollution      standard practice to generate scientific    normality”? What awaits us in relation
and age important variables?               evidence and aid decision-making?           to this and other possible pandemics?
These viruses have been affecting                                                      Teleworking, social distancing, wearing
animals for many years, producing          There are now excellent                     facemasks and hygiene measures are
zoonosis (animal illnesses). But to        epidemiological surveillance tools          likely to be with us for some time,
make the leap to humans there is           and methods for early detection and         even when vaccine(s) and effective
usually a need for a complicated           warning in real time. The International     treatment are available. A recent
transfer between three species, usually    Health Regulations of 2005 overhauled       survey of the American population
a bird species to a porcine species and    the way surveillance is carried out         showed that 30% of respondents
then on to humans. This is possible        and opened up new opportunities for         would not have the vaccine even
only with a massive simultaneous           the introduction of new tools and           when it becomes available. This
interchange between these three            the use of artificial intelligence and      will balk the generation of herd
species. In the past this transfer         real-time distribution networks of          immunity. For some time to come
from zoonosis to human infection           epidemiological information. The main       yet the control and prevention of
would have taken 100 years. Due to         problem was the downplaying of this         this pandemic will depend on the
globalization and production processes     epidemic by politicians and limitation of   zeitgeist behavior, prejudices and
and close intermingling of millions of     the active and continuous participation     false news. Recommended reading
humans with these two species, this        of epidemiology and pandemic experts,       here is: https://www.pewresearch.
transformation can now occur in 4-5        especially during the early stages, as      org/fact-tank/2020/05/21/most-
years. Climate change and pollution        well as starving these new systems          americans-expect-a-covid-19-vaccine-
are important co-factors in the rise or    and tools of funding.                       within-a-year-72-say-they-would-get-
resurgence of these new viruses.                                                       vaccinated/
                                           After a lockdown period of varying          Equally enlightening is this account
Do you think that if western doctors       severity from country to country,           of Republican voters’ view of the
had been able to study this virus in its   reining in the exponential virus            COVID-19 vaccine when available:
place of origin, China, they would have    spread, these measures are now being
been better prepared for preventing        eased off. There is as yet no efficient     of-republicans-wrongly-believe-bill-
its worldwide spread?                      treatment and the vaccine is still a        gates-will-use-covid-19-vaccines-to-
Western doctors and scientists             long way off while herd immunity is         implant-microchips-in-them/

                                                       21   GMV NEWS 74
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