Public Health Secretary plans to extend current restrictions beyond February 7th
Catalonia exceeds 19,000 deaths, and the number of patients in ICUs rises to 718
On January 4, the Government announced a tightening of measures to bend the covid curve throughout Catalonia. The Christmas holidays were triggering the number of positive cases and Procicat (the body in charge of reviewing and applying restrictions against covid-19) decided to apply new restrictions from the day after the Epiphany, January 7th. In recent weeks the measures have been lengthening and, as explained by the Secretary of Public Health, Josep Maria Argimon, the bulk of the restrictions will still remain longer and will go beyond the date on which they expire, on February 7th. Argimon has explained to TV3 that, given the current epidemiological situation, his clear commitment is to continue to maintain the limitations of mobility and social interaction. "If there are outbreaks with the current data, it will be a problem in the ICUs. We will have to stay with restrictions for a while longer. I will bet on lengthening them", the secretary of Public Health explained. In fact, this Friday 3,354 more positive cases have been reported, while the number of deaths in the country rises to 19,048, 113 more than Thursday. The R number remains at 0.95 and hospitalizations fall to 2,881 (-24), but patients who are in ICUs rise to 718 (+12).
Given these data and the stressful situation of Catalan hospitals, Argimon believes that we have to keep the night curfew, the municipal lockdown and restrictions on shops and the hospitality industry, which currently can open only in two time slots, in the morning (from 7.30 to 9.30 am) and at noon (from 13 to 15.30 h). "We can open up some things, we are thinking about it, but keeping most measures", Argimon has defended, which has insisted that this is his opinion - and it will have to be discussed in the body that decides on the changes, the Procicat.
One of the important aspects that may cause future changes in terms of the level of restrictions is the spread of the British variant. Right now, as the head of the microbiology service of the Vall d'Hebron Hospital, Tomàs Pumarola, explained to the ARA, this variant accounts for 8% of cases detected in the city of Barcelona. However, in March it is expected to be the predominant. Thus, if the British variant involves a high increase in cases, "more drastic measures" will have to be applied, Argimon anticipated, who also endorsed cloth face masks as long as they are "approved".