MAP: Which areas of Spain are under new Covid-19 restrictions?

New restrictions have been introduced in several parts of Spain in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. Here's a look at which areas have new rules on daily life.

MAP: Which areas of Spain are under new Covid-19 restrictions?
Photo: AFP

Currently some 5.2 million residents have their movements limited and are confined to their municipalities unable to leave except to go to work, to study or in exceptional circumstances.

The city of Madrid had its perimeter locked down on Friday night as well as nine smaller municipalities on its outskirts placing 4.7 million Madrileños under new restrictions in the region.

But the restrictions have not only been placed on those in the capital. At least 22 other municipalities across Spain have also been restricted including the entire cities of León and Palencia in Castile-León region, which on Monday recorded a cumulative incidence rate above the 500 threshold and met the Ministry of Health's criteria for new restrictions.

In fact authorities in Castile-León have taken the decision to place seven other municipalities under new restrictions despite not having yet reached the threshold introduced by Spain’s government last week.

In the map below the red dots mark municipalities restricted under the new Ministry of Health criteria, while the red dots are restrictions imposed by regional health authorities.

In Aragon, regional authorities have placed the town of La Almunia de Doña Godina under partial confinement after a spike in cases there and have also pushed the cities of Huesxa and Zaragoza back into Phase 2 restrictions ahead of this weekend’s Fiestas del Pilar – the patron saint of the region.

Navarra has placed four of its town under restrictions and neighbouring region of La Rioja has three municipalities under partial lockdown.

Meanwhile in Murcia, four towns – Jumilla, Lorca, Carvaca de la Cruz and Totana –  have restrictions in place.

Andalusia has applied restrictions to just one town, that of Casariche in Seville province after an outbreak that saw a cumulative incidence rate of 4,500 cases per 100,000 in its population of just over 5,000 residents.

In Extremadura, Eljas in Cáceres province has been confined since September 26because of an outbreak affecting its 900 residents.

Other zones, including Beniganim in Valencia, Bolaños de Calatrava in Ciudad Real and four zones in Mallorca’s capital Palma have seen restrictions lifted this week after perimeter confinements were successful in bringing down the number of new cases.

Across regions in Spain health authorities have opted to impose other restrictions which fall short of perimeter confinement. In Galicia for example, those in Ourense are banned from social gatherings outside their household.


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Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

A resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Europe, this time driven by new, fast-spreading Omicron subvariants, is once again threatening to disrupt people's summer plans.

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

Several Western European nations have recently recorded their highest daily case numbers in months, due in part to Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

The increase in cases has spurred calls for increased vigilance across a continent that has relaxed most if not all coronavirus restrictions.

The first resurgence came in May in Portugal, where BA.5 propelled a wave that hit almost 30,000 cases a day at the beginning of June. That wave has since started to subside, however.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: German Health Ministry lays out autumn Covid plan

Italy recorded more than 62,700 cases on Tuesday, nearly doubling the number from the previous week, the health ministry said. 

Germany meanwhile reported more than 122,000 cases on Tuesday. 

France recorded over 95,000 cases on Tuesday, its highest daily number since late April, representing a 45-percent increase in just a week.

Austria this Wednesday recorded more than 10,000 for the first time since April.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Cases have also surged in Britain, where there has been a seven-fold increase in Omicron reinfection, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS blamed the rise on the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but also said Covid fell to the sixth most common cause of death in May, accounting for 3.3 percent of all deaths in England and Wales.

BA.5 ‘taking over’

Mircea Sofonea, an epidemiologist at the University of Montpellier, said Covid’s European summer wave could be explained by two factors.

READ ALSO: 11,000 new cases: Will Austria reintroduce restrictions as infection numbers rise?

One is declining immunity, because “the protection conferred by an infection or a vaccine dose decreases in time,” he told AFP.

The other came down to the new subvariants BA.4 and particularly BA.5, which are spreading more quickly because they appear to be both more contagious and better able to escape immunity.

Olivier Schwartz, head of the virus and immunity unit at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said BA.5 was “taking over” because it is 10 percent more contagious than BA.2.

“We are faced with a continuous evolution of the virus, which encounters people who already have antibodies — because they have been previously infected or vaccinated — and then must find a selective advantage to be able to sneak in,” he said.

READ ALSO: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in France

But are the new subvariants more severe?

“Based on limited data, there is no evidence of BA.4 and BA.5 being associated with increased infection severity compared to the circulating variants BA.1 and BA.2,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said last week.

But rising cases can result in increasing hospitalisations and deaths, the ECDC warned.

Could masks be making a comeback over summer? (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Alain Fischer, who coordinates France’s pandemic vaccine strategy, warned that the country’s hospitalisations had begun to rise, which would likely lead to more intensive care admissions and eventually more deaths.

However, in Germany, virologist Klaus Stohr told the ZDF channel that “nothing dramatic will happen in the intensive care units in hospitals”.

Return of the mask? 

The ECDC called on European countries to “remain vigilant” by maintaining testing and surveillance systems.

“It is expected that additional booster doses will be needed for those groups most at risk of severe disease, in anticipation of future waves,” it added.

Faced with rising cases, last week Italy’s government chose to extend a requirement to wear medical grade FFP2 masks on public transport until September 30.

“I want to continue to recommend protecting yourself by getting a second booster shot,” said Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza, who recently tested positive for Covid.

READ ALSO: Spain to offer fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to ‘entire population’

Fischer said France had “clearly insufficient vaccination rates” and that a second booster shot was needed.

Germany’s government is waiting on expert advice on June 30 to decide whether to reimpose mandatory mask-wearing rules indoors.

The chairman of the World Medical Association, German doctor Frank Ulrich Montgomery, has recommended a “toolbox” against the Covid wave that includes mask-wearing, vaccination and limiting the number of contacts.