Publication: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 6:32 AM
Just over a month away for Easter, with a cumulative incidence on the decline in recent days, the Autonomous Communities are starting to consider what to do on these next dates to avoid a fourth wave of COVID-19 in May.
The disastrous campaign to ‘save’ Christmas has led to a fatal third wave, with a death toll between January and February comparable to April, with a record of infections and peaks of cumulative incidence exceeding one thousand cases per 100,000 population for several days in various territories.
This Wednesday, at the Interterritorial Health Council, Holy Week will be on the table, since several communities have said that this is where this issue must be addressed and ask to establish a common criterion for all of Spain, as has been done at Christmas.
Castile and Leon
Castilla y León has already moved forward and its vice president, Francisco Igea, said on Monday that they plan to keep the perimeter closed to contain the virus beyond Easter, in early April, although the measure is in effect until ‘on May 9, the date on which the alarm state ends. However, he requested that “there be a uniform criterion” also in this decision to maintain the closure of the perimeter and that there be no 17.
It was agreed to relax some measures in Castile and León from this Friday, although the curfew will be maintained at 10 p.m. In this way, it changes that any non-essential activity will be able to admit its last client at 9:30 p.m. and that visits to residences are made more flexible.
The Principality of Asturias has also ruled out opening the region at Easter and will keep exits and entrances closed until May. Adrián Barbón explained it a few days ago: “Asturias aims to keep the perimeter closed while the state of alarm lasts. And we have to pierce the ball to find out if we are going to live Holy Week as Christmas. If we want to come down to objective levels of public safety must sacrifice Holy Week. “
From Andalusia, for example, one of the communities with the longest tradition in these festivals, the Minister of Health and Family, Jesús Aguirre, said on Monday that “everything will be seen”. “The important thing is not to save Easter, but to save lives,” he said, while trying to find as much as possible a “balance” between health and economy.
Regarding a relaxation of measures, Councilor Jesús Aguirre recalled that “automatically” there is de-escalation with the opening of municipalities and essential activity by lowering the incidence of 500 or 1000 cases or when the level of health alert drops from four to three and this also allows problems such as expansion of capacity.
For his part, from the Valencian Community, its president Ximo Puig defended that it would be a “very complex” moment in which they should not lose what has been achieved so far with the restrictions. “There has to be a position of the system as a whole,” he said with clear reference to decisions made in meetings with health and the rest of the communities.
For this reason, he will ask the government of Pedro Sánchez for a “great agreement between communities” to limit travel to Easter. “It is very important to consolidate now” to move forward more quickly in the months to come. This Monday, the community left the situation of extreme risk, a situation in which it had remained since December 16.
The president of the Xunta was also realistic. Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who presented a de-escalation plan based on the cumulative impact on Monday, believes that it cannot be excluded that he will have to close again at Easter, while specifying that “it depends on us”. “The goal is getting closer and closer,” he insists.
He said that “he cannot promise” that Galicia will be “normal in three months” because, he admitted, he does not believe him, and in fact he warned that the San José bridge (March 19 is a public holiday in Galicia) and Easter “will not be as we would like”.
He warned that the possibility of further restrictions and a reversal of the de-escalation will depend on individual behavior, which can prevent incidence data from deteriorating again.
For now, he has relaxed the measures, allowing university students to return to class from Monday and reopen malls from this weekend across the country. In addition, it will reopen the hotel industry in the municipalities with a cumulative incidence (AI) of less than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Castilla La Mancha
Among the territories that remain closed, it is the one that has most clearly expressed its intention to open at Easter. Its president, Emiliano García-Page, indicated that in view of the evolution of the pandemic in the region – which he described as “extraordinary and eloquent” – he could lift the containment of the perimeter within ten days . It aims to “let go to revive the economy, hand in hand with health”.
Javier Lambán’s government has not dared to advance what will happen at Easter. For now, he maintains the perimeter restrictions of the community and its three provinces, at least until March 5. Until then, its policy of confining municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants with an AI of seven days greater than 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants will also remain in force.
It’s been restricted since October 22, and the next review of the restrictions will take place on March 11. President María Chivite, questioned in the provincial parliament on Holy Week, said that “we still cannot defuse” and added that they do not want to “generate false expectations”.
Its vice-president, Javier Remírez, also said last week that beyond thinking about holidays right now, his priorities are to fight the pandemic and ensure vaccination. The Navarrese government has indicated that it will not take unilateral steps to open borders without relying on neighboring communities.
The president, Miguel Ángel Revilla, claimed that he saw possible to deconfin the community at Easter if previously between 15% and 20% of the population had been vaccinated, “We have to be a little optimistic and think that if the vaccines arrive we Cantabria may have a bad orientation at Easter and in this way a certain economic activity can be generated which gives back to the hotel sector ”, declared the Cantabrian president.
The lehendakari, Íñigo Urkullu, once said that it was “very difficult” for him to think that on those days there could be “blind mobility”. In addition, the plan that the Basque government presented almost two weeks ago speaks of “spacing out descent and adjusting restrictions in times of high mobility and social interaction”, such as Easter.
At present, mobility is not even allowed between the three Basque provinces, which are still closed. They will open as soon as a cumulative incidence of less than 300 cases per 100,000 inhabitants is confirmed.
The president, Concha Andreu, had already declared a few days ago that at present they could not “think” of the holy week and the celebrations of these days, she argued that “there is no might not have a built-up area. Although since Monday, he has relaxed some measures.
For example, it has lifted the closure of the perimeter by the municipalities, but maintains it within the limits of the community, where the activity of non-essential sectors, which have remained closed since January 22, can resume.
The reduction in nighttime mobility is set between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. (so far it was from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.) and the maximum number of people in social gatherings will be six, except for stable coexistence. groups. Catering and hotel establishments can open with a maximum capacity of 30% indoors and 75% on the terrace, without consumption at the bar. Nightlife will continue to be closed.
Region of Murcia
“There is no debate around Holy Week,” declared Murcian President Fernando López Miras to exclude the opening of the Region. “We will continue to immerse ourselves in the fight against the pandemic and we will have to maintain health security measures”, advise the authorities. “We are not going to create false expectations.” He stressed that administrations must convey certainties. The regional president dared to affirm that at Easter there will be “no national and international travel” as in previous years.
Murcia, however, allows from this Wednesday to hold meetings of up to four people who do not live together, both in public and private spaces, which include terraces and private houses. In addition, the closure for non-essential activities is lifted at eight in the afternoon, which will allow bars and shops to remain open until ten in the evening, when the curfew begins.
Extremadura has eliminated the perimeter closure of all towns with more than 3,000 inhabitants, regardless of their infection rate. And he lifted the closure of the hotel industry and decided to allow the opening of hotel businesses from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the compulsory use of the mask, with a distance of two meters between tables and with limited capacity . 50% on the terraces and 40% inside the premises.
The maximum number of guests per table will be four and consumption at the bar will be prohibited. Indoors, it will be prohibited to turn on the TV with a voice, as well as to play music due to the likelihood that the risk of contagion from aerosols increases.
The Community remains open and is one of the worst incidence data recorded in the peninsula. However, its measures are the most lax in Spain with regard to the hotel industry (it allows its closure at 11:00 p.m.), commerce or the curfew (from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.).
Industry, Trade and Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto said “the pandemic is stalling and we must be careful.” As long as epidemiological conditions allow, the trips will begin safely and in coordination with the autonomous communities, he said.
The Canary Islands, for their part, and the Balearic Islands are at medium risk, according to the traffic light established within the Interterritorial Health Council. For them, the government is studying the creation of tourist corridors that facilitate a certain flow of tourists.
The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, prefers to opt for caution: “My main concern is to achieve an incidence of less than 50 cases. As long as we do not talk about these thresholds, on the date on which they will be reached, it is not necessary to consider another question. “Darias excludes opening the hand with the restrictions:” No easing of the measures, the de-escalation cannot be brutal. “