Civil Defense: "It is important that we don't all crowd the same place and we don't switch bubbles"

265.000 vehicles have moved around the metropolitan area until 1 PM, coinciding with the easing of the regional lockdown

Efe / Ara
3 min
A control in Montseny on the first Saturday without regional confinement for the bubble groups.

Civil Defense fears that this weekend, the first in Catalonia without regional lockdown for cohabitation bubbles since Christmas, there will be concentrations in natural areas; and therefore has again asked citizens to exercise extreme caution when travelling and when they arrive at their destination. "We are tired and we need to do things, to go out. But let's do them safely", said the deputy director of Civil Defense in Catalonia, Imma Solé. The statements make even more sense after the Catalan Traffic Service recorded a 49% increase in mobility at the entrances and exits of Barcelona: up to 1pm, a total of 265,000 vehicles had travelled through the metropolitan area.

Despite the obvious increase in road mobility, this figure represents a decrease of 17.2% compared to an equivalent Saturday in 2019. Yesterday, on the other hand, 930,000 vehicle movements were expected, and 870,000 were finally recorded. At this point, the circulation in the Catalan road network is quite fluid despite the fact that an accident on the C-58 in Montcada and Reixac has caused delays in the Rondas de Barcelona, with queues of up to three kilometers in the Ronda Litoral (B-10) and two kilometers in the Ronda de Dalt (B-20).

The Department of Home Affairs recorded yesterday Friday a movement of vehicles entering and leaving the metropolitan area of Barcelona lower by 12% and 14% of what was usual during a Friday prior to the pandemic coronavirus. Finally, 100,000 fewer trips were recorded. Solé has attributed this to the "social behavior" and "self-protection" of many citizens, who have internalized the prevention measures against the risk of infection, as well as to the bad weather of Friday.

However, in statements to Efe, Solé said that these figures show that there was an increase in mobility once the regional lockdown was over, by 4.36% compared to last Friday. Civil Defense admits that the trips will be replaced this weekend by other trips to natural areas, especially in mountain areas where it has snowed in the last few hours, so it has asked for "extreme caution" once arrived at the destination. 

The epidemiological situation in Catalonia is not good because a thousand cases are being registered every day, but it is not yet facing the peak of a new wave. "More things can be done now than a few weeks ago after three months of sacrifices, but always in a responsible way", says Clara Prats, physicist and researcher at the Computational Biology and Complex Systems Group (Biocom- SC) of the UPC. Within this desired and prudent behaviour, responsible mobility only with the cohabitation bubble is highlighted, and, in the event of a meeting with someone from another group, in the open air, wearing a mask and not engaging in activities that pose a risk, such as meals and overnight stays.

What is a coexistence bubble?

In recent days, according to Solé, the question that Civil Defense has had to answer the most before the lifting of the regional lockdown is what kind of contacts can be had with other bubbles; a situation, he stressed, which will also be brought by Easter. "We are asking for a kind of behavior", she said, an attitude in which it is important not to switch cohabitation bubbles, that is, the one that is created with the people with whom we live, and not to relax the prevention measures if we come into contact with another bubble, even if it is our family.

Solé acknowledged that at Civil Defense they have problems explaining concepts such as bubble and cohabitation, which are limited to "people living under the same roof, in the same house". "If you go out, don't create another bubble with family and friends. There are different contacts", she stressed. "Another thing is if I meet someone or go to visit a relative and I do it with a mask, respecting the distance and in open air spaces".