Why Catalonia’s bars and restaurants are to remain closed for another ten days

Why Catalonia’s bars and restaurants are to remain closed for another ten days
Photo: AFP
Regional authorities have extended the closure of restaurants, bars and shopping centres across all of the Catalonia region for at least another ten days.

“We know that these are very difficult and complicated measures, that we are asking for very hard sacrifices from sectors of our economy and society but from the point view of health … we need these 10 days,” explained Josep Maria Argimon, Catalonia’s public health secretary, announcing the extension on Thursday.

He said that the measures could begin to be lifted from November 23rd with the reopening of open air table service on terrazas.

The region has also closed its borders and each weekend confines residents to their own municipality in a bid to stop people moving around and spreading the virus.

Authorities have taken the decision to prolong strict measures even though infection rates in the northeastern region are improving.

 “We’re on the right track, the trend is good but not good enough, as we are at the peak of healthcare pressure and we need to flatten that curve as well,” added Alba Vergés, the Catalan regional health minister.

Despite the improvement in infection rates all of the healthcare zones of the region bar one still fall in the high risk of outbreak category.


Map from https://dadescovid.cat/

But the data did seem to show that the infection rate across Catalonia was stabilizing.

The region’s average 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants dropped from 742.42 on November 6th to 589.08 on November 12th, a significant decrease showing that the strict measures imposed on Catalans is proving effective.

But still the figure is above the national average and puts the region above the 500 cases per 100,000 threshold that categorises a region as “extreme risk”.

The infection rate improvement is illustrated in this graph:


Data from Spain's Health Ministry.

However, it is the pressure on the hospitals that authorities are keeping a close eye on.

There are currently 585 Covid-19 patients in intensive care units, taking up 44 percent of all ICU beds, a figure that according to Vergés is far above the number that can be handled by the Catalan healthcare system without impacting the quality of care for non-coronavirus patients.

 

The positivity rate – the figure that shows the proportion of coronavirus tests that come back positive – is also improving for Catalonia and now stands at 11.7 percent compared to the 12.67 percent a week ago.


Data from Spain's Health Ministry.

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