BARCELONA – The Catalan government on Monday evening agreed to introduce new restrictions with the holidays in its sights. Catalonia nightlife must be closed, capacity for other leisure activities limited, and there could be a curfew.
The curfew would have to be in place between 1.00 am and 6.00 am. Capacity restrictions will apply to restaurants, shops, gyms, sports, and culture federations. Furthermore, social gatherings are limited to ten people. And everyone, where possible, should work from home.
Furthermore, a resolution containing these new measures will be presented to the Supreme Court of Catalonia (TSJC) on Wednesday. Consequently, if approved, the resolution will enter into force on Friday.
The idea is to apply the curfew when the total incidence measured over 7 days exceeds 500 cases per 100,000 population (yesterday it was 456.73). The capacity in restaurants goes to 50% but remains 100% on the terrace. 70% applies to shops, sports clubs, gyms, and cultural spaces. Furthermore, social gatherings should not exceed 10 people.
Worse than a year ago
The Minister of Health, Josep Maria Armigon, the Secretary of Health of the Generalitat, Carmen Cabezas, and the government spokesman, Patrícia Plaja, explained the new measures and indicated that the government is “aware of the impact they have in a period like this. Furthermore, the government spokeswoman stressed the need to “stop the growth of the pandemic”. Plaja also stressed that the current numbers are “worse than those of a year ago around the same time” when a curfew was in effect and the region had not yet started vaccinating.
Health Minister Josep Maria Armigon emphasized the need to take new measures to avoid health saturation. “Everything indicates that omicron will be lighter, but because it is very easily transmitted, it has the potential to cause health centres to collapse,” he said.
12,000 positive cases
The minister pointed to the staggering increase in the number of infections in his region. Monday closed with 12,000 positive cases, a record number and 100% more than a week earlier.
Minister Armigon indicated that he was aware of how difficult the new measures are for many sectors. Still, the step back with the announced restrictions is “absolutely necessary” to prevent a collapse of the health care system. The regional government will provide financial aid for the affected sectors.
The Covid-19 committee held an online meeting with President Pere Aragonès Monday afternoon to discuss the measures. In Catalonia, the epidemic has worsened in recent weeks, in line with other regions in Europe. In 20 days, the weekly number of cases, the incidence at 14 days, the mortality, and the number of patients in ICU have doubled.
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