The Basque Country has debated at length during the pandemic about its ability to enact restrictions against COVID-19 that limit fundamental rights, mainly mobility, regardless of the state of alarm. The courts have overthrown several proposals from the regional government, with Judge Luis Garrido as the rapporteur for all of them, and the Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, has finally accepted that he cannot impose curfews or perimeter closures with the ordinary regulations in hand. It has not even tried to explore a middle way that other communities such as Navarra use to apply these measures, a formula consisting of obtaining prior judicial authorization. However, without any political or legal debate, two municipalities of Bizkaia, Plentzia and Lekeitio, face the first weekend of September, a time that an ordinary year would mean holding their parties, with strong mobility restrictions that Not only have they not gone through the crisis table of the health emergency in Euskadi, known as Labi, but they have been agreed with total ease through decrees of their respective mayors. And all in the week in which the Basque Executive has had to annul 14,700 sanctions for limiting mobility during the first confinement after the Constitutional Court decreed that even the state of alarm was not enough.
The peak of mortality of the last wave in Euskadi has been the lowest of the entire pandemic but leaves 133 deaths in August
Plentzia has around 4,000 inhabitants, is on the coast and is connected to Bilbao by the metro. Along with neighboring Gorliz, there are already several weeks in which, night after night, the bottles, crowds and incidents on beaches or pine forests occur. The most serious was the complaint of rape of a young woman, known last week and which is still being investigated. Between Friday, August 27 and Thursday, September 2, two people from the municipality have tested positive. Its incidence rate is 272.73 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days and has fallen by 62% compared to the previous Friday, although it is evidence that many of those who participate in unauthorized agglomerations are outsiders. Now it would be his turn to celebrate San Antolín in a year without COVID-19.
Lekeitio has around 7,000 inhabitants. It is also a coastal town, although further from the capital of Biscay. On these dates it is time for parties and, especially, Antzar Eguna, the day of the geese. Live animals have not been used for games and entertainment for a long time, but it is still the big day of the year. Lekeitio appears in this start of September as the municipality with more than 5,000 inhabitants in the Basque Country with the highest incidence of infections, since its rate is close to 1,000, although it has dropped 1% compared to last week.
In both cases, the approved measures mean that no one who does not prove their residence in the municipality with their DNI can access, which implies a ‘de facto’ perimeter confinement. Elixabete Uribarri, mayor of Plentzia for the PNV, signed a mayoral decree on Wednesday stating that “on September 2, 3 and 4, starting at 5.30 pm” “random controls” will be carried out for access by road with the aim that “only those vehicles in which people with residence in the municipality of Plentzia travel will be able to access”. Exceptions? It refers to the authorization of those who “prove” a “need” to pass, as well as “emergency, security and municipal services” vehicles. To this is added another article that announces “access controls to the municipality” at the metro station. The Basque Government, with members of the Ertzaintza, is collaborating with the small local Police in these tasks.
As for Lekeitio, it has agreed “a special security device […], particularly during the Antzar eguna weekend, from September 3 at 8:00 p.m. to September 5 at 8:00 p.m. “For example, this Saturday” from 8:00 p.m., controls will be put in place to restrict vehicle access to the municipality “and” will only be able to access those vehicles in which people who have their address in Lekeitio on their ID, as well as those who prove the need to access the municipality “. And” on September 5 will close the accesses to Lekeitio until 4:00 pm “since” the passage of vehicles to the municipality is prohibited, except for emergency and security services. “The town is even shielded by sea because” the external access of ships to the port of Lekeitio is it will close until 4:00 pm. “The Ertzaintza and the Biscay Provincial Council also collaborate here, since” there will be no public transport service to or from Lekeitio at their usual time “to prevent the arrival of visitors.
On the municipal website, Mayor Koldo Goitia (PNV) explains that “these measures have been adopted with the aim of guaranteeing everyone’s safety.” “Although the surrounding towns have not celebrated the festivities, there have been many who have come and infected during those days. Faced with this situation, visitors are reminded that in Lekeitio no parties or events will be held, nor will activities that endanger the health of the population be accepted. In addition, taking into account the proximity of the beginning of the course, the risk is even greater and it is our responsibility to take measures not to complicate the situation further “, it is emphasized. “If we close Lekeitio it is because we have made a shared reflection among all groups and institutions”, Goitia abounds in an interview with ‘Deia’.
As for Plentzia, the approved decree ensures that the restrictions are covered by article 17 of the Basque Municipal Law. This heading is the list of competences of the municipalities and the councilor who has the capacity to regulate traffic, security and the activities of the people, as well as for the “promotion, management, defense and protection of public health.” Both councilmen mention the context of almost daily altercations in recent weeks. The last example has been in the town of Elorrio, also in Bizkaia. On the night of this Friday to this Saturday, around three in the morning, the Police have arrested six young people between 18 and 28 years of age for “public disorder.” They have caused damage to furniture and public roads, as reported by the Ertzaintza.
309 new positives this Saturday and 69 people in the ICU
In this context, the Basque Health Service (Osakidetza) has reported this Saturday the appearance of 309 new positive cases, with a positivity rate of 5.8%, an indicator that has been falling steadily in recent weeks. The contagions are distributed in 161 in Bizkaia, 97 in Gipuzkoa and 41 in Álava, to which there are ten more between people or from outside or without known residence. In the last 24 hours, 31 people have been admitted with COVID-19 and the occupancy in the ICU has slightly decreased, although there are still 69 critical cases.
In our interactive specials, you can consult all the data on the evolution of the pandemic in Euskadi, Over the positive and deceased in each and every one of the residences in Álava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa and the advance day to day of the vaccination campaign. We also have maps with the most prominent shoots.