surinenglish

Andalucía announces two-phase relaxation of Covid measures ahead of festive period

Juanma Moreno announced the new measures on Thursday night.
Juanma Moreno announced the new measures on Thursday night. / SUR
  • Movement between municipalities will be allowed from Saturday, with shops also allowed to open later. The night curfew will be put back to 11pm next Friday

The president of the regional government, Juanma Moreno, has announced new measures that will come into force across Andalucía after the current rules end on Saturday. The restrictions will be eased in two phases, from 12 to 17 December and 18 December to 10 January.

Phase one

In the first phase, people will be able to move between municipalities within the same province. Shops will be able to open until 9pm, but bars and restaurants will have to close at 6pm as now. The night curfew remains at 10pm during the first phase.

Phase two

From 18 December until 10 January, movement from province to province across the region will be permitted. The curfew will be put back to 11pm (until 6am) and shops can go back to their normal opening hours. Bars and restaurants must close at 6pm, but can open again between 8pm and 10.30pm.

On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve the curfew moves to 1.30am. Between 23 December and 6 January, travel outside the region will be permitted to meet up with family members.

On 24, 25 and 31 December and 1 January gatherings of up to ten people will be allowed, although the limit remains at six for the rest of the period.

Oxygen to the economy

Juanma Moreno sent a clear message on Thursday to the over eight million people in Andalucía, ahead of announcing the new Covid-19 restrictions that will come in across the region this Saturday.

Moreno said that his Junta government would “give as much oxygen to the economy as we can while protecting the health of the people of Andalucía”, paying special attention in his comments to the hospitality sector.

The two-phased scaling down of restrictions was announced after a meeting with the committee of experts on Thursday evening. The announcement had been delayed a few days to allow more data from the recent long weekend public holiday to be studied by the panel of experts.

From extreme risk to high risk

The rate of Covid-19 infection detected per 100,000 in the last 14 days was 153,9 on Thursday this week, still just above the 150 needed to move the region into the medium risk category, although there is still a clear downward trend.

In Malaga, including the Costa del Sol, the equivalent rate was 121 cases, placing the province in the medium risk category ahead of the Junta’s decision on Christmas. A week earlier it had been 238 per 100,000.

Fall in hospital cases

There were 1,554 people in hospital in Andalucía on Thursday this week, of whom 331 were in intensive care. A month ago, on 9 November, 3,335 patients were in the region’s hospitals with coronavirus and at one point there had been an emergency plan, expecting the cases to go over 4,500.

The region’s plans identified a province as extreme risk if 15 per cent of hospital beds had Covid patients, and a high risk between 10-14 per cent. Only Cadiz, Jaén and Granada provinces were in the high risk categories in terms of hospital beds occupied on Wednesday this week. Malaga province had 8.3 per cent of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients.