10-person limit on gatherings, capacity limits, and closure of nightclubs extended

All restrictions except curfew will remain in place for at least another week

Image of the Ocho Patas restaurant in Barcelona, on October 15, 2021 (by Aina Martí)
Image of the Ocho Patas restaurant in Barcelona, on October 15, 2021 (by Aina Martí) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 18, 2022 09:52 AM

Catalan authorities have confirmed that all restrictions will remain in place for another week except for the 1 am to 6 am curfew in municipalities with high Covid rates, which will be lifted at midnight on Thursday night.

This means that a 10-person limit on gatherings, 50% capacity limits in the indoor seating areas of bars and restaurants and a 70% cap in non-essential stores, as well as the closure of nightclubs, will continue to be enforced, although the 10-person limit will have to be greenlighted by the High Court as it restricts individual rights and freedoms. 

These measures will be reviewed on a weekly rather than 15-day basis due to the rapidly evolving nature of the health crisis, Catalan government spokesperson Patrícia Plaja explained on Tuesday. 

On Monday, health minister Josep Maria Argimon informed the press of his decision to ask the Covid-19 scientific advisory committee to issue a report on the use of health passes for entry into restaurants and other establishments given the highly contagious nature of the Omicron variant. But for now, this additional measure will remain in place too. 

"We cannot afford the consequences of not implementing restrictions during this sixth wave in which all records have been broken," Plaja said.

While the current wave of infections is yet to peak, Plaja explained that experts believed it could be a matter of only a few days before it did. But the rapid spread of Omicron, she said, made it harder for epidemiologists to compare this wave to prior ones. 

Covid-19 in Catalonia

The sixth wave of the pandemic is not letting up. On Tuesday, a new record-high number of daily reported cases was set — 48,307 — while almost half of all positives in Catalonia since the beginning of the pandemic were diagnosed in the past three months. This situation has overwhelmed primary care centers and hospitals, where there are over 500 patients in ICUs, and forced many workers across all sectors to have to take time off on sick leave.  

As of January 17, 2022, official figures, released daily on this website, state there have been 1,774,456 confirmed Covid-19 cases, while 25,149 people have died.

6,420,480 residents have been given the first dose of the vaccine, 81.2% of the total population. Out of those, 5,582,409 have also been administered a second dose (70.6% of the total population). 6,145,315 residents are considered to be fully immunized (77.3%).

Catalonia has administered 2,655,634 third doses (33.9%). Official data show that 37.2% of residents have received a booster shot (which includes those who had a third jab plus people who only got one jab in the initial vaccination series and then received a booster, their second shot).

Vaccines have helped to decrease the mortality rate compared to one year ago when shots were only being administered to older residents and essential workers. From January 10 to 16, 2022, 166 people with or suspected to have had the virus have died, while over the same period last year, 384 did.

With 77.3% of the population fully immunized, this difference may not seem as big as one would think it should be. But at the beginning of 2021, authorities reported around 3,962.42 cases per day. In 2022, the average number of cases per day is already 25,185.14