Health Minister Salvador Illa on Friday unveiled a raft of new measures to be enforced nationwide as the country battled a surge in the disease, with nearly 3,000 new cases in 24 hours reported on Thursday.
In a bid to rein in the spread of Covid-19, discos, nightclubs and dancing halls will be shut. Restaurants and bars will be required to close by 1am, with no new guests allowed in from midnight.
There is now also a ban on smoking on the street, where a distance cannot be maintained – which is in line with World Health Organisation recommendations. The ban was already announced in Galicia on August 13th and the in the Canary Islands from August 14th.
“I announce that we have decided to adopt coordinated actions in public health for the first time and these measures have been unanimously accepted,” said the Health Minister.
Spain bans smoking in public. Photo: Jose Jordan/AFP
Regional authorities will be required to carry out testing among groups of the population that are particularly at risk, and in the built-up areas hard hit by the disease, but the health ministry gave no timetable for these measures to come into force.
Meetings have also been again limited to 10 people, reported El Pais.
“These measures are a minimum, not a maximum. Communities can take more restrictive measures,” Illa pointed out.
A total of 28,605 people have died so far from coronavirus in Spain, which declared a state of emergency between March 14th and June 21st that allowed the central government to impose restrictions nationwide.
When the state of alarm lifted, autonomy was handed back to the regional authorities.
The health ministry has had to negotiate with them to impose the new measures on a nationwide basis.
Spain has a population of 47 million and the infection rate of 110 cases per 100,000 inhabitants is higher than in other Western European countries.