Society 22/08/2021

Barcelona fears an increase in the number of infections due to street drinking parties

Catalan hospitals continue to empty but nearly 10,000 positives a week are still diagnosed

3 min
Agents of the Guardia Urbana in the neighborhood of Gràcia this weekend.

BarcelonaThe good trend of epidemiological and health care data could change in the coming days in Barcelona. This is what both the City Council and the health authorities fear, which in recent hours have expressed their concern about the images of crowds and parties without any protective measures this weekend. The lifting of curfew and the Festes de Gràcia have become fertile ground for street drinking parties and mass gatherings on public roads, and only during the early hours of Sunday morning the joint police operation of the Guardia Urbana and the Mossos d'Esquadra has had to evict 5.500 people in different parts of the Catalan capital: about 4,000 in the Gràcia district (where the festival is over), about a thousand on the beach and half a thousand more in the Born, according to police sources told Efe.

The hustle and bustle of this morning is similar to one lived on Saturday throughout the streets of the capital, where the agents dispersed to more than 6,000 people for violating the restrictions. For instance, for drinking on the street or meeting with more than 10 people. The deputy mayor of Prevention and Security of Barcelona, Albert Batlle, acknowledged Sunday in an interview on Catalunya Ràdio that since the curfew has been lifted there has been "a considerable increase in the presence of people in public space at night" and that some people have "uncivic attitudes", although most police actions are mediation and dispersal and there is no record of any arrests. "Hopefully we will not have to regret it in the coming weeks", he said.

Batlle has pointed out that throughout the early hours of this Sunday "perhaps there has been less activity than the night before", but also acknowledged that without the current night lockdown concentrations are more common and larger in some areas. "We will have to live with the situation until the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) pronounces itself", he said, referring to the possibility of extending the curfew in all cities of more than 20,000 inhabitants that present an accumulated incidence of 125 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants (which would allow for the deployment of night-time lockdown in Barcelona and most metropolitan cities).

Pending this decision, the director of Preventive Medicine at Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Antoni Trilla, has warned that the images of recent days suggest that there will be a further increase in infections, especially among young people. "Especially among those under the age of 40, who still do not have vaccination rates high enough to curb transmission", he said in an interview on Radio1.

164 dead in the last week

The fifth wave, unprecedented due to the volume of contagions and the rapid growth of the occupation in hospitals in which it has derived, subsides in Catalonia. Or at least this is the trend that the epidemiological and care indicators published daily by the Department of Health reflect. In the last week 9,847 infections of coronavirus have been diagnosed in the country, half the first week of August, when almost 20,000 a week were detected. Hospital beds are also gradually emptying: at this point 1,373 patients with covid are hospitalised, 429 less than a week ago, and in intensive care units (ICU) there are still 466 critical patients being treated, although eight fewer than yesterday Saturday and fifty fewer than a week ago.

The current data give cause for a certain optimism, especially after the Health Dpt has announced Catalonia has reached the 5 million vaccinated with the full vaccination schedule this Sunday. However, the trickle of fatalities does not stop and far are the weeks of early summer when not a single death was reported by coronavirus. This week, for example, 164 people have lost their lives - an average of 23 deaths per day - most of whom were 80 years old or older.