Individual responsibility for Christmas
BarcelonaLittle by little, we citizens are finding out what restrictions there will be to celebrate what will necessarily be a minimalist Christmas due to the pandemic. In the end, family groups will have to be of a maximum of 10 people with children included and on Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and Three Kings' Night the curfew will be extended until half past one in the morning. As far as mobility is concerned, nothing has been decided yet in Catalonia (it will depend on the government's plan for easing restrictions), despite the fact that yesterday the Interterritorial Council decided that it will only be possible to travel from one autonomous community to another if it is to attend a family meeting. This means, for example, that it will not be possible to travel for tourism or leisure activities. As a recommendation, it is requested that no more than two bubbles of cohabitation be joined at each meeting.
The health authorities are looking for a difficult balance between controlling the evolution of the coronavirus and maintaining a minimum economic and social activity on such important dates. But there are so many doubts that effective communication has not yet been achieved regarding the parameters followed to decide on the restrictions. The policy of leaks to test the waters has also disorientated citizens for whom knowing what restrictions are in force at any given time is anything but easy. Nor does it help to send out messages depicting Christmas as an exceptional period outside the epidemiological situation.
Thus, it is appropriate to demand maximum transparency and coherence. It is clear that the Christmas holidays are particularly untimely in the fight against the pandemic because we are only just coming out of a second wave and some indicators have already started to rise less than two weeks after the opening of bars and restaurants was authorised. The R number, which a fortnight ago was 0.77, has now reached 0.89, just 0.01 below the limit set by the Generalitat for the easing of restrictions to continue. Similarly, EPG has risen from 205 to 210, pointing to a trend that, if not stopped in time, can end up being very dangerous. If this has happened in a period of normality, imagine what can happen during a period when the population moves around massively to participate in family gatherings and when the cold weather does not allow them to celebrate outdoors.
Countries such as Italy or France have already adopted more restrictive measures, and others such as Germany or Belgium are considering them. All the experts therefore point out that Christmas can be a kind of epidemiological time bomb. We must therefore be extremely careful. And since we fortunately do not live in a dictatorial system like China or George Orwell's authoritarian utopia, everything will ultimately depend on individual decisions. This will be the most atypical Christmas, but we should all work together to prevent it from becoming the prelude to a third wave as devastating as the first two or more.