Spanish regions have announced that they will be reintroducing curfews and other restrictions on socialising and nightlife following the recent spike in Coronavirus cases.
It comes as the Delta variant of the virus spreads rapidly among unvaccinated younger Spaniards where the incident rates have reached almost 800 cases per 100,000 citizens.
At a national level, Spain’s two-week COVID-19 infection rate has continued to climb with Ministry of Health data showing 368 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
The largest number of infections are currently in those between the ages of 12 and 29.
As a result of the increases, the Catalonian authorities last week decided to close all nightlife venues just weeks after they were given the all-clear to reopen.
On Monday, the regional authorities also announced restrictions on bars, restaurants and related venues which will only be allowed to stay open until 12:30 am. Eating and drinking on the streets will also be banned.
Large social gatherings will be prohibited with a maximum of 10 people allowed to socialise at any one time. However, the measures will first need to be authorised by the courts.
The Valencia region has also acted swiftly securing the approval of the courts to impose curfews in 32 of its municipalities prohibiting social gatherings between the hours of 1 am and 6 am. There will also be a 10-person limit on socialising.
It comes after the region saw a five-fold increase in infections, taking the number of new cases from 50 to 250 per 100,000 residents.
Asturias, in the north of the country, has also banned people from socialising at indoor establishments including bars and restaurants.
The recent surge in infections is thought to have been fuelled by end of school parties coupled with the start of the summer season. As a result, the rate of infection in those under the age of 30 is now around three times the national average according to Fernando Simón, Director of the Coordination Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies.
He said that even though younger citizens will not require intensive care treatment, the surge will ultimately lead to a greater number of hospital admissions placing further strain on the country’s health services.
“The pressure now is being borne by the primary care services and public health,” Simón warned. “If we continue to have very high incidences among those who have not been vaccinated, there could be an impact on hospitals and there could be regions that have excessive pressure.”
On Monday, the Ministry of Health published their latest figures which showed that there were 3,892 hospitalisations taking up 3.24% of beds. Of those, 719 were receiving intensive care.
“We are not recording an increase in mortality - and we hope that we don’t reach there,” Simón told a press conference.
“We are doing things that probably entail a high risk of contagion," he said. “No matter whether it's this variant or another one, the risks we take would lead to an increase in transmission.”
As of Monday, almost 22 million Spanish citizens had been fully vaccinated against Covid, equating to approximately 46% of the population. However, only around 600,000 of these are in the under 30s.
Image Credit: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa