Andalucía postpones restriction easing due to infection rate increase

The committee of experts on Tuesday evening.
The committee of experts on Tuesday evening. / SUR
  • The committee of experts agreed to keep the current measures in force based on 'a principle of caution'

The slight increase in coronavirus cases detected over the last few days has changed Andalucía's strategy regarding its schedule for the lifting of restrictions.

The committee of experts who advise the regional government decided to keep the current measures and postpone the next phase of easing, after analysing the lastest figures at a meeting on Tuesday evening.

Due to the increase in the infection rate, the group said it had made its decision based on "a principle of caution". There will be no change, therefore, to the numbers permitted at venues, events and gatherings for the time being.

The committee meeting was coordinated remotely by Junta president Juanma Moreno, who is currently self-isolating at home after testing positive for coronavirus last week. The experts will meet again in two weeks' time, said regional Health Minister Jesús Aguirre.

The average 14-day cumulative infection rate in Andalucía has increased steadily over the last week, reaching 176 cases for every 100,000 inhabitants, a figure that is moving further towards putting the region back into an extreme risk category (more than 250 cases).

Malaga is the province with the second lowest infection rate (138), only behind Almeria (77). Meanwhile Granada, Huelva, Jaén and Seville all have more than 200 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants over 14 days.

Now the curve is starting to rise again after the downward trend of the last few weeks, which is what has led the authority to err on the side of caution.

The news is not all bad, however. The numbers of Covid hospital patients remains controlled. In Andalucía this Tuesday there were 855 people in hospital with Covid-19, more than last week but almost half the total at the height of the fourth wave; and far lower that the figures reported just after Christmas, when vaccination had barely started and the Junta activated a plan to be able to attend to up to 4,500 hospitalised Covid patients.

The effects of vaccination are now evident, especially among the older age groups who are also the most vulnerable.

In Malaga province, 85 per cent of the population over 50 years old have now received at least one dose of one of the coronavirus vaccines.