The 161 municipalities where curfew is to be applied tripled the maximum risk threshold
The Generalitat analyses whether it will have to return fines imposed during the state of alarm for non-compliance with the measures
BarcelonaThere will finally also be a curfew in Santa Cristina d'Aro, Altafulla and Caldes d'Estrac as long as the Catalan government's measure receives the backing of Catalonia's High Court. These towns have been included in the 1am-6am curfew at the last minute because they are completely surrounded by towns where the curfew would be in place due to high incidence of the disease. Thus, the government hopes to avoid people travelling around to avoid the harshest restrictions. All in all, 161 municipalities with populations over 5,000 will be affected. In fact, the situation is "critical", the authorities insist, to pointing out that if they were to follow the Ministry of Health's thresholds of "all Catalonia would be closed," in Catalan minister of Health,Josep Maria Argimon's words.
Argimon explained that the Catalan Government set a threshold of 400 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous seven days, three times higher than the Spanish Ministry of Health's. The situation is especially serious among the young, who are yet to be vaccinated; incidence is up to twelve times higher in this age group. With this scenario, the forecasts of the Government are that the measure, if finally applied, will be renewed every week and, in all certainty, will have to be extended. Weekly meetings will be held to decide what towns are added or removed from the list.
In a joint appearance by Argimon, the minister of Home Affairs, Joan Ignasi Elena, and government spokesperson Patricia Plaja, they have defended curfew as a necessary tool, after the fifth wave has taken primary care centre to the brink. In the last 24 hours there have been 20 new admissions to ICU, which are expected to reach 300 by the weekend.
Elena explained the bar was set at 400 cases and not 125 to send the public a message of "containment", especially considering weariness after a year and a half living with covid and restriction. It is also a warning sign to the court which needs to approve it that the situation is critical.
Argimon said that the pressure on health centres has already forced workers back from holiday, and has asked the population to make an effort so health workers can enjoy their right to rest this year, after they were forced to go without holidays last year. He pointed out that there are indications that there is a "slowdown" in new cases, but has clarified that the data are still very high and more positive are being diagnosed than ever. In addition, he has reproached people's "false sense of security", which contrasts with the high number of patients who are now in ICU.
The doubt of the fines
After the Constitutional Court declared the first state of alarm imposed by the Spanish government in March 2020 unconstitutional, the Generalitat has asked its legal services to examine what to do with the more than 23,000 fines processed for non-compliance with the restrictions in force. If it is finally resolved that the amounts paid have to be returned to those affected, they will be returned, Elena has assured.