Society 14/07/2021

Courts back restrictions due to "sudden aggravation of pandemic": gatherings limited to 10 people and everything to close by 00.30 am

Government may also decree a curfew

2 min
A terrace full of people in Barcelona

Restrictions in Catalonia to halt the surge in contagions have received court approval. Catalonia's High Court has backed limiting family and social gatherings to a maximum of 10 people and close businesses and public spaces such as parks and beaches from 00.30 pm. In addition, no trade or gatherings will be allowed in public spaces, including for school outings, socio-educational intervention activities and educational leisure.

In the resolution, the magistrates consider the measures requested by the Government "indispensable" taking into account the "sudden aggravation of the pandemic" in these last weeks. The request for the restrictions was accompanied by a report by the Public Health Agency that the Court accepts. The document justifies that right now "there is growing, uncontrolled and sustained community transmission". The virus, says the agency, has returned to hit all age groups but has had an "explosive" impact in those aged 15 to 29, where the rate of infection is "seven times higher than three weeks ago" and is related to the "massive outbreaks in the social sphere".

The report also detects "a worrying increase" in cases in the 30-39 age group in the last week, insists that Delta, "which is more transmissible and represents the cause of over 40% of infections", is now the main variant in Catalonia, and warns of a "progressive increase in the pressure of infection" at all levels of health care, starting with primary care - where the activity related to covid has grown from 6% to 25% in a month - and ending with hospitals, which already have more covid patients than at this time last year.

The agency also recalls they have begun to detect cases of people infected despite being fully vaccinated and that some health workers have had to take sick leave because they have symptoms compatible with covid or have been in close contact with an infected person. According to government spokeswoman Patricia Plaja, this is the case 823 professionals. Following all these explanations, the High Court considers restrictions "adequate and proportionate" proposed by the Government. The Court also believes the current cumulative incidence rate in Catalonia (595 cases per 100,000 inhabitants) is exorbitant, especially as it is double the figure a fortnight ago and seven times the figure three weeks ago.

The approval of the restrictions requested by the Government could be a precedent for the curfew it wishes to apply in high-incidence areas . In fact, this could come in the next few hours. The Government believes that the fact that Valencia's High Court approved a similar measure for 32 towns and cities paves the way for its own restrictions. Nevertheless, the position among regional courts is not unanimous: the Canary Islands' High Court overturned similar restrictiosn in Tenerife.