Catalonia asks Spain to trigger state of alarm to impose night curfew

All-time high of 5,400 Covid-19 cases reported by Catalan health department on Friday

The Catalan government holding an emergency meeting on Friday (by Jordi Bedmar/Presidència)
The Catalan government holding an emergency meeting on Friday (by Jordi Bedmar/Presidència) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 23, 2020 06:53 PM

The Catalan government has asked for Spain to trigger a state of alarm in order to impose a nighttime curfew as a measure to curb coronavirus infections. 

Catalonia has requested, however, to retain decision-making authority in what would work as a decentralized state of alarm if approved by the Spanish government, stressing that this situation would differ from the exceptional measures implemented in March.

Speaking in a press conference on Friday night, vice president Pere Aragonès and spokesperson Meritxell Budó explained that they expected Civil Protection would be able to hold a meeting on the matter tomorrow as soon as Spain responds to their request. 

The Catalan executive is set to impose a curfew, which would tentatively be in place from 11 pm to 6 am, once the state of alarm is approved.

Aragonès also stated that other mobility restrictions would not be ruled out if deemed necessary according to the evolution of the public health crisis. 

The move comes on the day that over 5,400 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Catalonia, the third consecutive day of record-high infections reported.

The outbreak risk rose by 68.79 points on Friday up to 635.71, well above the ‘high risk’ threshold of 100, while the transmission rate now stands at 1.47 new infections per person diagnosed with the virus.

Another 21 people passed away due to the virus on Friday, bringing the death toll in Catalonia to 13,725 as of the latest count on October 23, while health department figures show there have been a total of 219,828 diagnoses since the beginning of the pandemic. 

In a Friday morning interview with public broadcaster TV3, Catalan health minister Alba Vergés spoke about implementing a curfew: "We will limit mobility and put in force a curfew, or anything that may be required," she said.

Spanish president Pedro Sánchez put the decision in the hands of regional governments over whether or not a state of alarm should be decreed. In a speech given today, the Spanish president warned that the winter months would be “very hard.” 

President of the Basque Country, Iñigo Urkullu, and other regional governments requested that Spanish authorities declare a state of alarm also to impose a similar curfew.