New restrictions to be announced in Andalucía after figures improve only in worst-hit provinces

New restrictions to be announced in Andalucía after figures improve only in worst-hit provinces
  • Regional president Juanma Moreno meets with committee of experts before explaining whether and how measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 will change during the coming days

The regional authority is expected to announce new Covid-19 restrictions this Sunday after a meeting between regional president, Juanma Moreno, and the committee of experts who advise the authority.

"We have many days of limitations to come," said Moreno on Friday, during a visit to a Malaga hospital.

After two weeks of increased restrictions on movement in Andalucía, within the framework of the new state of alarm declared by central government in October, the results have been varied.

In the provinces with the highest rate of infection on 9 November, just before the most recent measures were brought in, the figures have improved, while in the four provinces least affected by the virus the rates have increased or remained steady.

When the regional government locked down municipalities (people have been unable to cross municipal borders since 10 November without justified reason), extended the night curfew to 10pm-7am and orderd the closure of non-essential businesses at 6pm, the provinces with highest infection rates were Granada, Jaén, Sevilla and Cordoba.

In Granada, where the rate was especially high, restrictions were harsher, with non-essential businesses ordere to close down completely. There the infection rate (14-day notified case rate per 100,000 inhabitants) has gone down from 1,215 (on 9 November) to 864 (21 November).

Jaén's figure has dropped from 840 to 694 during the same period; Cordoba's from 637 to 448; and Seville's from 614 to 507.

Meanwhile two weeks ago the provinces of Huelva, Malaga, Almeria and Cadiz were considerably better than their inland neighbours. The restrictions brought in over the last two weeks, however, have failed to curb their increase in infections.

In Huelva the rate has gone from 489 (9 November) to 505 (21 November; in Cadiz, from 356 to 480; Almeria, from 403 to 442; and in Malaga the rates have remained steady, from 299 to 300.

According to the risk levels brought in by the government, a 14-day figure of more than 250 is considered to by extreme risk; high risk corresponds to a rate between 150 and 250; medium risk, 50 to 150; and low risk 25 to 50.

Hospital cases

In Andalucía on 9 November there were 3,335 patients with Covid in hospital. On Saturday 21 November were were 2,947, accordiing to the data provided by the regional health authority. This fall has relieved pressure on the health service and moved further away from the 4,500 patient figure that would have triggered an emergency plan to open field hospitals and move patients between provinces.

Again the evolution of Covid-19 patient figures has varied from one province to another.

In Granada, the worst-hit area, patient figures have fallen from 843 on 9 November to 678 on 21 November. Seville has gone from 857 to 648; Jaén from 341 to 308; and Cordoba from 319 to 307.

The hospitalised Covid patient figure has also gone down in Huelva province during these two weeks of restrictions (161 to 138); but the number of hospital beds occupied by Covid patients has increased in Almeria (121 to 124), Malaga (367 to 378) and Cadiz (326 to 366).

The number of Covid patients in intensive care units around the region has increased in all provinces exept for Jaén (45, one less than two week's ago) and Malaga (49, down six).

Beds occupied

In terms of the proportion of the total number of hospital beds occupied by Covid patients, a figure also taken into account by the authorities when considering restrictions, the average in Andalucía on Saturday 21 November was 17 per cent (more than 15% is extreme risk level).

The proportion of intensive care beds taken up by Covid patients in the region as a whole was 31 per cent on Saturday.