When the state of alarm ended, on May 9, the Junta de Andalucía began its own de-escalation plan. But the Covid-19 does not understand calendars. The Andalusian Government has been extending current health measures and progress towards the new normal, set for June 21, has been stalled.
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But after more than two months, the increase in infections has led the Andalusian Executive to adopt new restrictions. This Tuesday, and with the advice of the High Impact Public Health Alerts Advisory Council, a curfew has been proposed between 2:00 and 7:00 in those municipalities with more than 5,000 inhabitants and whose cumulative incidence exceeds 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. For the rest of the municipalities, the evolution will be done specifically. This mobility limitation has to be ratified by the Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia. It is not the only initiative to surf this fifth wave where the ‘Delta’ variant of Covid-19 is already “the majority” in Andalusia, according to the Minister of Health and Families, Jesús Aguirre.
New capacities in hospitality and nightlife
In the meeting with the so-called ‘committee of experts’ it was agreed to modify the capacity of the hotel and nightlife establishments according to the level of health alert. With regard to the hospitality industry, the interior will have a maximum of 4 people per table at any level. Outdoors, this number is expanded as follows: a maximum of 10 guests on level 1, a maximum of 8 guests on level 2, a maximum of 6 guests on level 3 and a maximum of 4 guests on level 4. Service and consumption at the outdoor bar it is only allowed in levels 1, 2 and 3.
Also, depending on the levels, the capacity in nightlife venues changes: it is 75% indoors on level 1 and 50% on level 2. Bar service will not be allowed indoors and tables will be occupied by a maximum of 4 people. Outdoors, only bar service will be allowed on levels 1, 2 and 3, being consumption at tables. The Board has asked these establishments an entry record to control the traceability of possible infections.
The Andalusian Executive has once again asked the local police for greater control to avoid concentrations of young people to consume alcohol. The ‘bottles’ are one of the main sources of contagion and for this reason it has already been urged to limit the sale of alcohol or the closure of municipal parks. Now it is also recommended to close the beaches from 23:00 to 7:00 in those coastal towns in levels 2, 3 and 4 of health alert. The ‘committee of experts’ has highlighted “the rapid rise in the indicator of accumulated incidence with special relevance in the young population,” as Aguirre expressed at the end of the meeting.
This same Tuesday the suspension of the Malaga Fair was already known. Along these lines, it has been recommended that “no parties, festivals, pilgrimages or other popular festive activities be held while the current epidemiological situation continues.” Another warning is to avoid meetings or private parties where more than 10 people are grouped.
The measures, which will come into effect at 00:00 on Thursday, July 22, occur on a day where Andalusia has registered a cumulative incidence rate of 418.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, the highest since February 17 when 411.2 points were reached, according to data from the Ministry of Health and Families. It has been the nineteenth consecutive rise in a day in which 3,687 positive cases and 9 deaths have also been recorded.
Much “prudence”, few measures
The worsening of the epidemiological situation in Andalusia prevents continuing with the de-escalation plan. The ‘Delta’ variant has “a greater transmission capacity” so that “although current vaccination coverage continues to rise, it cannot be ruled out that the greater number of cases may begin to influence the indicators of healthcare pressure”, Aguirre has expressed. This Tuesday there have been 858 people admitted, 160 more than this Monday. Of these hospitalizations, 147 are in Intensive Care Units (ICU).
The Junta remains trapped in its own “stabilization” phase, the original dates of which were set from May 9 to May 31. The calls for “prudence” have been repeated in the interventions of the Andalusian leaders, but the sanitary restrictions to stop the multiplication of cases in recent weeks have been minimal. The regional strategy is to “continue trying to reconcile what is economic activity with the health situation”, as stated by the vice president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juan Marín.
After the state of alarm, Andalusia extended the hours of bars and restaurants until midnight, being the first autonomous community to open nightlife, and until 2:00 in the morning. When the “advance” phase approached, scheduled between June 1 and 21, the increase in infections froze any hint of opening. Came the “stanby“Due to the slow evolution of the pandemic in Andalusia. Now, the” normalization “phase is far away.
The curfew proposal and the limitation of capacity in hotels and nightlife have been preceded by two time extensions until 1:00 in the morning: that of ice cream parlors (June 15) and that of establishments of open-air hospitality (July 6). In addition, Aguirre acknowledged that the objectives set by his counsel for the de-escalation plan had not been met before postponing the meeting of the ‘committee of experts’ on June 29.
Vaccination is “the obsession” of the Andalusian Executive, the only parameter with which it complies according to its roadmap. More than 9.3 million vaccines have been administered in Andalusia. 73% of the population over 16 years of age already have a dose, while 63% have the full regimen.