Authorities concerned with Covid-19 rising figures especially related to youth
Outbreak risk and transmission rate rise as more measures are being relaxed
The trend of the pandemic has slightly changed over the last few days, with the outbreak risk and transmission rate beginning to rise after a couple of months under control.
In reference to the pandemic situation seen over the last few weeks, the Catalan health minister, Josep Maria Argimon, has reminded people that the pandemic “is not over yet”. He highlighted that the rising cases are mostly being seen among groups of young people who are yet to be vaccinated.
The outbreak risk and transmission rate have been increasing for the last 6 days. The outbreak risk stands at 105 on June 24 (over 100 begins to concern authorities).
The rising transmission rate (people per patient) is equally concerning - the R-rate rose 0.05 points on June 24, bringing the transmission rate to 1.19 (over 1 concerns authorities). This is the highest it has been since April 18, over 2 months ago.
The index for cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days has also begun to increase, after a decreasing trend in the data from early May until now. It now stands at 89.86 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Despite this, down to the success of the vaccine rollout, the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals and ICUs has seen very little to no change, with the number of patients in intensive care (135) being the lowest it has been in 10 months.
The Catalan government has expressed concerns over the increasing prominence of the Delta variant.
Last week, the Catalan health secretary, Meritxell Masó, announced that 20% of all current coronavirus cases in Catalonia are the Delta variant. The previous figure, recorded only at the end of May, revealed that it made up just 12% of all cases.
Young people more affected
Since a lot of young people are yet to be vaccinated, the threat of spreading the new variant is much more prominent in people of this age group.
For instance, on June 21, an outbreak of Covid was detected among a group of young people in the Baix Ebre county in Southern Catalonia, resulting in 23 positives and 200 contact cases.
Also on June 25, it was announced that the Catalan health authorities have been investigating another outbreak resulting in at least 24 positive cases among a group of Catalan teenagers who were on an end-of-course trip in Menorca. 40 more students are also being tested.
Relaxing of measures
This concerning trend in the data comes at the same time a series of relaxations of measures are being introduced.
On June 21, nightlife reopened in Catalonia after 15 months. However, there are restrictions in place, such as 50% capacity limits, closing at 3:30am and mask-wearing and social distancing are compulsory when dancing or at the bar.
As well as this, face masks will no longer be needed outdoors from June 26 for the first time in 13 months.
Celebrations were also allowed to take place for Sant Joan on June 23, with many people heading to the beach to celebrate the traditional nocturnal festival of food, fireworks and bonfires.