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Further lockdown ruled out for now but nightlife restrictions considered

Health department plans to increase daily PCR tests from 8,000 to 30,000

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22 July 2020 01:13 PM

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ACN|Barcelona

The Catalan government has ruled out further lockdown measures for now like those Catalonia faced between March and June or those currently in place in seven Segrià county towns.

The new public health secretary, Josep Maria Argimon, said in an interview with public broadcaster TV3 on Tuesday evening that confining the population is not in the cards at the moment.

"This possibility does not exist right now, looking at the figures. Home confinement has very important effects on people's health and a serious social and economic impact."

The growth in new Covid-19 cases in the Segrià county has slowed down this week, and there are not as many the new transmissions overall as there were a week ago.

Yet, a few days after Civil Protection passed new regulations affecting 3.04 million people, the health department is considering enhanced measures to limit nightlife – young people's actions are seen as contributing to the spread of the virus.

The Catalan president, Quim Torra, alluded to this on Wednesday in Parliament a few hours after Argimon stated on Catalunya Ràdio that "socialization is different" at night, and also reminded MPs that the current situation is not as dire as seen at the hight of the pandemic this spring.

His reassurances have not appeased the opposition, with Jessica Albiach of Catalunya en Comú - Podem criticizing his government's handling of the crisis. 

In any case, the government is not considering introducing new bans, but recommendations: "Maybe even if we are a group of 6, 7, or 8 people we should not meet up in the early hours."

The specific measures are under consideration at the moment.

By no means will there an alcohol prohibition, says Argimon, but "at certain hours people can drink at home."

Argimon also emphasized that "the cultural sector is safe," after the industry complained about being affected by the latest limitations.

More PCR tests

One of the first measures of Argimon has taken after replacing Joan Guix, who stepped down a month and a half ago, is to announce an increase in the number of PCR tests being carried out.

He said the health system will perform some 30,000 of these tests every day, a steep increase from the 8,000 carried out daily at the moment, with the aim of testing the close contacts people who are diagnosed with the virus.

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