Daily Covid transmissions hit new record in 'fastest spread' worldwide
Situation in Catalonia 'dramatic' as new restrictions pending court decision to come into force
New Covid-19 transmissions in Catalonia have hit a new all-time record, after having surpassed all previous highs several times last week.
On Tuesday morning, the Catalan health department figures showed 8,423 new cases identified on Monday through PCR and antigen tests – July 9 was the previous peak, with 8,021 transmissions, with the figures then decreasing to under 6,000 per day over the weekend.
Pharmacoepidemiology professor at the University of Oxford Daniel Prieto-Alhambra, one of the top Catalan experts in the field, said on Monday that the pace of new cases is unprecedented worldwide.
"The spread is much faster than what we have seen anywhere, not even in the UK, it is a pace that we had not seen until now," he told Catalunya Ràdio.
He admitted that the number of hospitalizations will be lower than in other waves due to the vaccination program, but added that a small percentage of a very large number of cases "ends up being a large number."
'Almost artificial' clinical trials difficult to replicate
Research group BIOCOMSC, part of UPC university, said on Tuesday that the total weekly new cases is at the highest level seen during the whole pandemic, confirming the Catalan News data analysis published the day before.
The fifth wave in Catalonia, which has prompted a sharp worsening of all Covid-19 figures in a matter of days, has been called "dramatic" by Spain's health emergencies coordinator, Fernando Simón.
He has expressed concern about some mass cultural events held recently – without explicitly mentioning any –, saying that the clinical trials held in "almost artificial" conditions are very difficult to replicate in real life.
For Simón, in mass events it is easy "to not follow" the safety measures, such as wearing the face mask at all times and social distancing.
All activities to end by 12.30am
The serious health situation has led to the Catalan government announcing new restrictions, including forcing all activities in public spaces to end by 12.30am across the country.
This includes all sorts of events, such as culture and music, and premises such as restaurants – including take away and delivery. Attendees at all events must be seated.
The cabinet is also recommending that local authorities close all public places where crowds have been seen lately from 12.30am to 6am, such as parks and beaches.
In addition, the executive has asked the judiciary to grant its permission to limit gatherings to 10 people again. Since the restriction would affect fundamental rights and Spain is no longer under a state of alarm, the Catalan administration is obliged to get court approval before implementing the cap again.
So far none of the restrictions is in force yet, since the government is waiting for the Catalan high court (TSJC) to have its say on the limit on gatherings.