Restrictions on opening times and gatherings to last all summer
Health Dpt admits there will be 500 ICU patients by weekend
BarcelonaThe current epidemiological situation in Catalonia has led the Government to assume that some of the restrictions that exist right now will be maintained throughout the summer. "Listening to health professionals the message is very clear: we have to assume that we will have to limit social interaction and take all the measures that are within our reach, for weeks, throughout the summer," said the spokeswoman for the Government, Patricia Plaja. "We are not talking about curfew, which will be reviewed on a weekly basis, but the measures that most of society has internalised: keeping a safe distance, using masks, leisure activities ending by 00.30 am and no more than10 people per gathering," she said.
Thus, these restrictive measures in meetings and commercial activities will be extended in time, while the curfew established in 165 municipalities throughout Catalonia with the approval of Catalonia's High Court (TSJC) will be reviewed weekly, since it is a greater restriction on citizens' rights. "These are restrictions of rights and freedoms because the situation is very critical," admitted Catalan Health minister Josep Maria Argimon, who wanted to make clear that in spite of having arrived at the "peak of contagions", the situation is serious. Pressure on the health system will continue to grow during the next few weeks, and the Health Department expects the number of ICU patients to reach 500 by the weekend.
In fact, Argimon has said that during the coming weeks we will not be going back to normal and the situation remains delicate. The head of the Department of Health has also given details on the end of the curfew: towns and cities who cumulative incidence drops below 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants will no longer be affected by the measure. For the moment, Catalonia's HIgh Court has granted the first one-week extension the Catalan government required.
In the appearance before the media, Argimon has ruled out changes to lengths of quarantines for the moment. "The problem we have with quarantines is that they are completed, from a more orthodox point of view we would require 14 days, but we shortened to 10 to facilitate quarantines," he explained. He said that 40% of people do not follow the isolation, a figure that "possibly is underestimated.
One of the consequences of the situation experienced right now in Catalonia is that Catalan hospitals are postponing all non-essential surgical activity to focus on the fight against covid. Argimon has pointed out that there are not usually many operations planned for this time of the year and that the affectation is "small". Another consequence is that health workers could be denied their holidays. At the moment this measure is punctual, but if necessary, Argimon has made it clear that it will be done.