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Face mask use will once again be compulsory outdoors

Catalan president says Spain's restrictions are "clearly insufficient" and calls for "bolder" measures

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22 December 2021 05:13 PM

by

ACN|Barcelona

Spanish president Pedro Sánchez has announced that face masks will once again be mandatory in outdoor spaces from December 24 as Covid-19 cases continue to grow.

In his meeting with regional presidents, including Catalonia's, on Wednesday, Sánchez also said that the Armed Forces would be called in to help speed up the vaccination rollout and that military hospitals would be made available to the general public if deemed necessary by regional health authorities. 

Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, said that Spain's restrictions are "clearly insufficient" and called for "bolder" measures. He also advised other regions in Spain to enforce more restrictive measures and to follow the example of other European countries.

At the meeting with Pedro Sánchez, the Catalan president proposed allowing parents of children who test positive to request sick leave.

The Spanish government aims to have administered booster shots to at least 80% of people between the ages of 60 and 69 before the end of the year. The goal is to do the same with people in their fifties by the week of January 24 and people in their forties by the second week of March.

They also aim to administer first doses to 70% of children by the week of February 7 and two doses by the week of April 19.  

Retired medical professionals will be hired, as will doctors with non-EU medical degrees. 

The Catalan government is expected to hold a press conference at 7:30 pm CET on Wednesday to address the measures that were discussed in the Spain-wide meeting. 

New Covid-19 restrictions in Catalonia

On Monday evening Catalonia announced a new set of restrictions that are set to come into effect on Thursday at midnight and be in place for at least 15 days. 

These include a 10-person limit on gatherings, a 1 am to 6 am curfew in municipalities with over 10,000 people and an incidence rate of more than 250, as well as the closure of nightclubs, a 50% capacity limit in the indoor seating areas of restaurants, and a 70% capacity limit in stores, gyms, and cultural venues. 

The 10-person limit and curfew, which restrict Constitutional freedoms, are yet to be approved by the High Court. 

Catalonia had initially said that fully vaccinated close contacts of Covid-19 patients had to self-isolate for 10 days from Thursday but then backtracked after Spain's Public Health Committee voted against the measure. 

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  • People wearing a face mask in Reus on August 18, 2020 (by Roger Segura)

  • People wearing a face mask in Reus on August 18, 2020 (by Roger Segura)

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