Government to request one-week extension of curfew

Measure would also apply in Lleida, Roses and Salt

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BarcelonaThe Catalan Govern will ask Catalonia's High Court for authorisation to extend the restrictions in force to "avoid the collapse" of the health system. According to government spokeswoman Patrícia Plaja, this would include the 1 am- 6 am curfew staying in place for another week. If the extension is approved, it would also apply to three more towns (Lleida, Roses and Salt) taking the total to 164.

"We are fully aware of the exceptional nature of this measure and we do not want to and cannot normalise it, because it is uncomfortable, because it affects and conditions the daily lives of millions of people. However, we are also aware that we have to take measures to curb contagions," said Plaja, who said that the epidemiological situation "continues to be worrying".

It seems that contagion among younger age groups is slowing down and the increase in the number of positives is moving to older people, something that "worries" health workers. Despite Health Department forecasts expecting contagions to stabilise at the end of this week, hospital pressure will continue to escalate. In fact, in the last 24 hours there have been 140 more admissions and the total number of hospitalised cases has risen to 1,823 people. There are 307 ICU beds occupied by covid patients (42% of the total) and this number is expected to rise in the next few days.

The government believes that in the coming days covid patients will take up over 2,000 beds and by the end of the month intensive care patients could be as many as 400 or 500. This fifth wave is affecting younger people than previously: patients admitted to ICU are 53.2 years old on average. Most of them are people who have not been vaccinated or who have had their first dose, and one in five are under 40. As for those hospitalised on the ward, average age is 55.2 years and a quarter have not yet reached the age of 40.