A waiter removes a poster with capacity limitations in Pamplona. / EFE

Covid-19: Spain passes 'a crucial milestone on the road to recovery' says PM Sánchez

The country's incidence rate has fallen below 50 to 48.94, a low-risk level for coronavirus and a figure that has not been seen since July 2020

ÁLVARO SOTO / MELCHOR SÁIZ-PARDO

The coronavirus cumulative incidence rate in Spain, has fallen this Thursday (7 October) to 48.92 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days. It has dropped below 50 , the barrier that separates medium-risk from low-risk of the disease, according to the 'Covid traffic light' system established by the Ministry of Health and the regions last March.

“Spain today registers a cumulative incidence rate of less than 50 cases; a crucial milestone on the road to recovery. Thanks to the administrations involved, to the health professionals and to all the public. Let us continue to persevere to keep the virus at bay", the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, posted on Twitter.

A similar figure had not been registered since 28 July, 2020, when Spain’s national incidence rate was 49.22 cases, At that time, Spain was still seeing the benefits of the harsh home lockdown in the spring and on 26 June, the lowest rate of the pandemic was reported with 7.81 cases. But the relaxation of the measures had already begun to trigger infections again. In fact, at the end of that July the second wave began, which would last until December.

Rapid decline

From last summer until this Thursday, the lowest incidence rate in Spain was reported on 22 June, just before the start of the fifth wave, with 92.25 cases. In fact, for only 12 days (from 16 June to 28 June), was the number below 100, until it returned to those levels on 16 September, with the rapid decline in the incidence rate until now.

Relaxed measures

The entry into the low-risk territory will not lead, however, to a relaxation of the restrictions because in reality, both the Ministry of Health and the regional councils have already lifted the main limitations without waiting to drop below 50 cases. For example, according to the 'Covid traffic light', family gatherings of up to 10 people, the opening of 50 per cent in the interiors of bars or a capacity of 75 per cent in sports stadiums could now be allowed. For weeks, however, the vast majority of the regions have relaxed these measures and even eliminated them.

Chirldbirth

“We have a tremendously low transmission of the virus. It is logical and desirable that measures be lifted because people are tired”, explains Pedro Gullón, professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Alcalá de Henares. The expert asks for a rethink on some restrictions that are still in place. “It is not logical that discotheques are allowed to open until six in the morning and yet women who are giving birth cannot be accompanied during childbirth. The lifting of limitations of the economy should be balanced with the social ones”, emphasises Gullón.

The expert also reminds that, although the situation is "very good", public health services "cannot be dismantled, but on the contrary, they must be strengthened."

'New normal'

According to the 'Covid traffic light' system, low-risk is only the penultimate stage of the fight against Covid-19. To achieve the last goal, and move to the ‘new normal’, the incidence must be reduced by half again, to 25 cases, which, despite mass vaccination, is still far away.

In the last 24 hours, Spain’s Ministry of Health has registered 23 deaths (86,701 since March of last year) and recorded 1,807 new positives, which brings the total number of coronavirus infections in the country to 4,971,310.