Why the Canary Islands is the only region in Spain without a curfew

The Canary Islands is the only region in Spain to be free from a curfew measure that sees all other residents in Spain confined to their homes at night.

Why the Canary Islands is the only region in Spain without a curfew
Photo: AFP

The archipelago escaped the measure because it has recorded far fewer cases of coronavirus than the rest of Spain.

Over the last seven days, the islands have recorded 44 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, by far the lowest figure of any region in Spain where the average incidence rate currently stands at 378 cases per 100,000 people.

The Canary Islands has successfully kept the contagion under control halving the number of new daily coronavirus cases since September.

Only 2.5 percent of all PCR tests conducted on the islands turn out to be positive and a total of 7.7 percent of beds in Canary Islands are occupied by Covid-19 patients (11.16 percent of ICU beds).  This compares with 19.59 percent of all beds in Madrid hospitals and 38.9percent in ICU.

To date the Canary Islands as a whole have registered 16.845 positive cases of Covid-19 and 272 deaths with the numbers on each island as follows:

Gran Canaria has had a total of 8,571 cases, Tenerife with 5,941 cases Lanzarote with 1,225 cases, Fuertaventura with 755, La Palma with 192, La Gomera with 88 and El Hierro with 72.



Health authorities on the seven islands had implemented a “traffic light” system categorising each island according to a three tier system based on epidemiological data.

Since September the islands of Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and La Gomera were all classified as red zones but all but Tenerife have now been given green status.

Tenerife is expected to have its red light lifted by November 6th.

Under a red status various restrictions kicked in including limiting events or gatherings of more than 10 people, with the exception of the celebration of ordinary programmed cultural activity of a public nature.

Under the red light hotels, restaurants, bars, and terrace establishments, as well as beach bars and restaurants, had to close by midnight, and cannot admit new clients after 11pm.

The regional government of the Canary Islands negotiated with Spain's central government to be exempt from the curfew measure just as the UK and Germany added the destination to the “safe list”. 

This means holidaymakers from those countires will be allowed to visit the Canary Islands without needing to quarantine on their return.

The news is expected to bring a huge boost to the Canary Islands whose authorities have long been lobbying to be treated differently from mainland Spain which has the highest infection rate in Europe.

The Canary Islands are now open up in time for October half term and prepare for the winter tourism season after suffering a devastating spring and summer.

Beyond having to fill in passenger locator forms and have a temperature check on arrival, visitors to the Canaries currently face no restrictions to entry.



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Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.