Catalonia is the first and trusts not to be the last. The president of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, asked this Tuesday that the curfew and the restrictions envisaged in the community as of Friday be “extended” to other territories to guarantee the success of the measures and stop the sixth wave in the face of expansion of the omicron variant of coronavirus. “The rest of the communities must take measures that are not easy or popular, but they are brave to protect the lives of citizens,” he defended. “We demand the Government to act in this direction. For the measures to be effective they must be generalized ”. Catalonia, Navarra, Euskadi, the Canary Islands and Madrid yesterday registered their daily record of positives for the entire pandemic.
The Catalan Government, in any case, is the first to jump into the pool and recover some tough restrictions despite the fact that its weekly incidence is lower than the national average, according to data from the Ministry of Health. The Government will today ask the Catalan High Court of Justice to apply the night curfew, from one in the morning to six in the morning, in those municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants with a weekly incidence greater than 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona and Lleida are affected. The Executive also intends to reduce catering capacity to 50%, and to 70% in sports, cultural and commercial areas. The affected sectors yesterday regretted the Government’s decision.
Aragonès assured that in recent days he has held talks with the lehendakari Íñigo Urkullu, and the president of the Valencian Community, Ximo Puig, from the Basque Country, “among others,” in which his counterparts, he said, “share” concern about the advance of omicron.
The priority of the Generalitat, in any case, is to recover the covid funds for 2022, something that, for the moment, the central government does not have planned. Aragonès will attend the Conference of Autonomous Presidents this Wednesday and will demand from the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, “involvement in the economic and social consequences derived from the pandemic.” “Covid funds are essential,” he insisted. At least Andalusia, Aragon, the Balearic Islands, Galicia, Castilla y León and Cantabria have expressed a similar message in recent weeks.
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The restrictions were almost an obligation in the eyes of the Government’s advisory committee on covid. The team delivered a report to the Health Department on Sunday proposing various measures to tackle the sixth wave. Inaction, the document claimed, could have the consequence of reaching 25,000 new positives per day in Catalonia in January 2022. The record, reached yesterday, is 11,500. Experts recommended closing nightlife and limiting business hours, among other measures, but did not include a curfew, something that the Government does.
The Generalitat’s decision reassures the group of experts. “We were afraid that the restrictions would apply after Christmas,” says committee chair Magda Campins. The effects will be noticeable, Campins confides “in about three weeks.” During this period, the Three Kings Parade is scheduled to be held on January 5, although Barcelona has opened up to study its cancellation. Its mayor, Ada Colau, advanced that the New Year’s Eve events will not be held.
The Metges de Catalunya union, for its part, yesterday accused the Government of being “always late”, and argued that the restrictions are the consequence of the “lack of resources” to control the pandemic and, above all, of the “null reinforcement of the health system ”.
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