Spain accepts Catalan proposal allowing three health regions into de-escalation Phase 1

Health department deemed Tarragona area, western Pyrenees and Ebre region to have 'low risk' of new outbreak

Spanish health ministry meeting on May 8, 2020 (Moncloa)
Spanish health ministry meeting on May 8, 2020 (Moncloa) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

May 8, 2020 07:59 PM

The Spanish government has accepted Catalonia's proposal that only three health regions move on to Phase 1 of the lockdown de-escalation plan on Monday, May 11.

The three regions that will see a further easing of confinement measures are the Tarragona area (Camp de Tarragona), the western Pyrenees (Alt Pirineu i Aran), and the Ebre region (Terres de l'Ebre).


The Catalan health department deemed these three regions the only ones with a 'low risk' of a new Covid-19 outbreak.

Phase 1

Libraries, museums, bar and restaurant terraces, hotels and religious buildings can all tentatively reopen during Phase 1, but with restrictions on capacity, and strict hygiene measures in place.

Individual sporting activities by appointment in sports centers is permitted, as is socialising in small groups of up to 10 people, as long as all are healthy with no underlying conditions.

The other six regions will have to remain in Phase 0 for the time being. Girona, central Catalonia,  Lleida, and the North and South Barcelona metropolitan areas are all said to have a 'moderate risk', while Barcelona city is judged to have a 'moderate-high risk' of a relapse of Covid-19 cases.

Co-governance and caution

During a press conference on Friday evening, Spanish health minister Salvador Illa said that the transition plan is based on two pillars: co-governance with regional authorities and caution.

He thanked everyone for their efforts over the past eight weeks during the Covid-19 crisis.

Also speaking at the press conference, Spain's head of health emergencies, Fernando Simón, said critical and acute care beds per 10,000 people is a key variable when considering which territories can cope with further loosening of measures.

Simón said that Spanish authorities agreed with the report put forward by Catalonia on Wednesday. "Neither Catalan authorities nor the Spanish health ministry believe that all of Catalonia should enter Phase 1."

Barcelona is a special case, according to Simón, due to its "density, movement of people, national and international exchange it can have and the overall space."