The lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, has finally chosen to adopt measures to combat the new wave of COVID-19 infections. The Basque Presidency has already announced the formal convocation of the health emergency crisis table, the body known as Labi, for 4.30 pm this Tuesday. There, the situation opened after the conference of presidents will be assessed and new restrictions will be implemented in light of the conversations held with neighboring communities, particularly with Navarra.
Occupancy in Basque hospitals shoots up 27% at Christmas and the incidence of COVID-19 rises to 2,076 points
The Basque Government has chosen not to offer more details of its plans for the moment, although they will revolve around time limitations in non-essential activities and reduction of capacity at venues and events. “The measures are a reminder that we must continue to exercise extreme caution and responsibility,” said the Lehendakari in an intervention with the members of the Court of Auditors.
It is clarified, of course, that the measures will arrive in time for New Year’s Eve since they would enter into force with their publication in the Official Gazette of the Basque Country (BOPV), without mentioning anything about the need for prior judicial authorization from the Superior Court of Justice of the Basque Country (TSJPV). The proposal will be similar to that of Cantabria and Navarra, although it is pending to specify whether there will be special situations on the days indicated.
These measures will come after no restrictions were adopted, neither before the Constitution and Immaculate Bridge nor before Christmas Eve and Christmas. On December 2, the cumulative incidence was 577 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days and on December 23 it was 1,495. Last week Urkullu already outlined a plan with time and capacity limitations which will be, in essence, the proposals that are being considered now. That document is what the Basque representative brought to the conference of regional presidents called by Pedro Sánchez. As there were no decisions beyond the extension of the use of masks also outdoors, something supported by Urkullu, the Basque Country gave up applying its own plan in the use of its powers (as has happened in other phases of the pandemic), claiming that the situation requires of shared decisions.
Of course, within 24 hours contacts were initiated with neighboring communities, mainly with Navarra, to establish a common framework for the end of the year. In the Basque case, Urkullu has already made explicit that he wants the exceptional situation to continue until the end of January. However, there is a big difference from that intention to unite Euskadi, Navarra, Cantabria, Castilla y León, La Rioja and Aragón to reality. Only the first two have maintained contacts in this regard, since Cantabria has followed its own roadmap (with a traffic light that regulates the measures at the municipal level in force for months that leads to the closure of nightlife and capacity of 50% in areas with the highest level of incidence) and nothing has been known about La Rioja or Castilla y León.
Up to now, this third health emergency had meant a change in decision-making procedure, with much more prominence for the team from the Department of Health headed by the counselor Gotzone Sagardui. In fact, since the declaration of that alert at the beginning of December, the crisis table of the health emergency has not met once on the sidelines of the appointment for its constitution, the body known as Labi, and that of this Tuesday will be your first resolution session.