The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, has called on Spain's national government to consider a total lockdown and home confinement in Spain as coronavirus infection numbers continue to give major cause for concern.
Moreno was speaking ahead of the regional government’s meeting of their committee of experts on Friday, expected to decide on tougher measures in the autonomous region which could include more mobility restrictions.
Answering press questions during a visit to Algeciras, the Junta’s president expressed the "concern" of his government about the rapid increase in infections in this "third wave" of the pandemic, that had not been seen in either the first or the second.
Moreno said the situation is leading the Junta to "monitor and evaluate the decisions on a daily basis because it is no longer possible to wait 14 days to observe the effects of measures”.
He confirmed that "it is foreseeable" that, after the meeting of the committee this Friday afternoon, "new decisions will be made about mobility restrictions because it is one of the few instruments we have right now to deal with this multiplication of infections".
"I anticipate that on Friday we will tighten mobility measures among Andalusian citizens," acknowledged the president who has linked this "explosive" evolution of the pandemic to "the Christmas festivities, despite the fact that the majority of Andalusians have been very responsible".
Asked if he thought that a "total confinement" should be declared, Moreno said that "countries with very powerful economies and health systems" such as Germany are resorting to this measure, because "the British variant is causing a lot of damage in Europe". But he pointed out that "this decision should be made, if deemed appropriate, by the Government of the nation".
"It is a responsibility of the State itself," according to the Andalusian president, who advocated that the central government "assume the responsibility in the management of this pandemic to respond to situations of the magnitude like the one we are experiencing".
Moreno said the regional government does not consider "right now" to ask for the total confinement for Andalucía, which is still below the national average in incidence rate, but "we never rule out anything" and in any case “the Government of Spain should be thinking about whether to take such a measure for the whole of the country".
The Junta's health minister, Jesús Aguirre, has also renewed calls to Spain's Health minister Salvador Illa to bring the night curfew forward an hour to 9pm - a proposal that has so far been rejected by the national government.
Aguirre justified the request saying, "Measures like that are necessary because we are in a third wave that differs in its virulence from the first and second."