Sunday. 24.09.2023

Catalonia, with its tourist metropolis Barcelona, has again announced strict restrictions on public life in view of rapidly rising coronavirus numbers.

Clubs, bars and dance clubs are to be closed during the night, night-time curfews are to be imposed between 1 and 6 am and the occupancy of restaurants, cultural and leisure facilities as well as the number of people attending private meetings are to be limited, the regional government of the autonomous region in north-eastern Spain announced.

These measures were to come into force on Friday for an initial period of 15 days. Catalonia's Supreme Court still has to approve the plans.

Coronavirus numbers are rising rapidly in Spain despite a high vaccination rate of around 90% of all people over the age of 12.

The seven-day incidence rate of new infections per 100,000 residents is now a 377 and the 14-day incidence is at 609 cases.

The burden is also increasing in hospitals: A total of 1,442 coronavirus patients were treated in intensive care units, occupying 15.5 per cent of capacity.

Emergency meeting

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called an emergency meeting for Wednesday afternoon. The videoconference with the presidents of the autonomous regions will discuss measures to contain the pandemic, Sanchez announced in a TV address broadcast nationwide on Sunday.

The highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus is also circulating in Spain and, according to experts, should soon be prevalent.

Apart from Catalonia, however, the other regions have so far relied on relatively mild measures: rapid progress in third party vaccinations as well as the requirement to be vaccinated, recovered or tested negative when entering many indoor public spaces, restrictions on the occupancy of restaurants, cinemas and concert halls as well as a general obligation to wear masks indoors in public spaces and, in some cases, outdoors.

Catalonia plans to restrict public life again because of coronavirus