New date: Covid certificates to be compulsory in bars, gyms and care homes from Friday
Requirement was suspended last week only a few hours after coming into force after system crashed
A Covid-19 certificate will be compulsory in bars, restaurants, gyms, sports centers and elderly care homes in Catalonia from midnight on Thursday night going into Friday.
The requirement was suspended last Friday, only a few hours after coming into force. The system crashed after hundreds of thousands of people entered the La Meva Salut website en masse to download certificates.
Health minister Josep Maria Argimon announced the new date on Monday evening, after it was decided at a Covid-19 committee meeting.
Argimon recommended members of the public to download the certificate and save it to their mobile phone, thereby avoiding going on the La Meva Salut website every time they need it – he also called on people to avoid going to primary care centers solely to ask for the pass.
The health minister explained that once the Catalan high court confirmed on Thursday the government's decision to make the use certificates obligatory, traffic to the health service's website where the passes can be downloaded from spiked and, as a result, the servers overloaded.
On Friday alone, 346,000 people downloaded their pass, with 460,000 on Saturday. Overall, there were 1.4 million downloads between Monday and Saturday.
First case of Omicron variant confirmed in Spain
On Monday afternoon Madrid's Gregorio Marañón Hospital confirmed the first case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant in Spain.
Madrid's regional government released a statement saying that the patient is a 51-year-old man who returned to Spain from South Africa on Sunday November 28 with a stopover in Amsterdam.
In Catalonia, Argimon said that two passengers who had arrived at Barcelona-El Prat airport from South Africa via Germany had tested positive for Covid-19 after rapid antigen tests.
"Samples have been sent to Bellvitge Hospital for screening and subsequent sequencing," to determine if the positive cases are of the Omicron variant, the health minister said.
Surge in vaccinations
The Covid-19 certificate mandate resulted in a 64% increase in vaccinations last week. Authorities said on Saturday that, between Monday and Friday, 21,000 people received their first dose, a remarkable rise compared to the previous week, at 13,000.
As for second doses, the jabs administration went up from 20,500 to 37,000 in a single week, around 80% more.