Catalonia set for new county lockdown from Friday
Authorities reintroduce tighter mobility restrictions amid a "very worrying and fast" rise in ICU patients
The Catalan government will reintroduce the county-level lockdown from Friday, less than a month after mobility restrictions were eased ahead of the Easter holiday period.
In a press conference on Wednesday, health minister Alba Vergés described the rise in ICU patients as "very worrying and fast," and said it could become "unbearable" for hospitals if it keeps up at the same pace.
The new lockdown will come into force at midnight between Thursday and Friday and is set to last at least until April 19.
As of the last count on Wednesday, April 7, there are 1,712 patients hospitalized due to Covid-19 and 458 in intensive care. Both of these figures had been in decline since January, with a low of 394 ICU patients and 1,318 hospitalized on March 26.
In early-mid March, the outbreak risk indicator had dipped below 200, meaning below the threshold considered 'very high', with a low of 177 on March 14. Since then, it has shot up to as high as 284 at the beginning of April, and as of Wednesday, April 7, it stands at 223.
The UK variant, already widespread in Catalonia, worries health authorities greatly, as does the fact that the outcome of the Easter holiday weekend has not yet been seen in epidemiological data. In fact, an increase in positive cases has already been seen on Wednesday, after days of declining figures.
Since last fall, Catalonia has endured various levels of mobility restrictions, ranging from strict municipal lockdowns to exception periods during the Christmas holiday to see relatives and friends.
Travel has always been permitted for work, health reasons, care of relatives, and other essential reasons, which are required to be properly documented.
Health authorities will give a press conference later today with further updates about the decisions being taken.