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Illegal parties and street celebrations concern authorities as outbreak risk continues to rise

Pro-independence National Day demonstrations decentralized in several locations while doctors advise against "mass" events

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31 August 2020 11:53 AM

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ACN | Barcelona

Several illegal parties and street celebrations have concerned the authorities, which believe that Catalonia is facing "three key weeks" to fight against the progression of Covid-19 ahead of the reopening of schools and the return to work.

This weekend dozens of people were seen partying and dancing to celebrate the annual Sant Fèlix celebrations in Vilafranca del Penedès.

Videos of narrow streets packed with people not respecting the safety measures went viral – both local and national authorities condemned the events, which were organized spontaneously.

"Everyone regrets not being able to celebrate 'festes majors' as we would have wanted," tweeted the health minister, Alba Vergés. "Two weeks ago we performed a mass screening in Vilafranca due to the surge in diagnoses, and today we see images that do not match with the situation of the pandemic," she added.  

Also at the weekend, the Catalan police, Mossos d'Esquadra, informed that they had dismantled "an illegal party of 160 people in Sants (Barcelona), who were not abiding by the coronavirus health measures."

Some outrage at the events included President Quim Torra, who said "that was not a party, but a lack of solidarity against the efforts of all of us." He also said he had ordered the Mossos to act with the "maximum severity" against those not complying.

The Catalan National Assembly (ANC), a pro-independence civic group, have come under criticism for going ahead with organizing some events for Catalonia's National Day, celebrated on September 11. 

In recent years, the day has seen hundreds of thousands gather in the center of Barcelona for rallies, but this year 90 "de-centralized" events are being organized across Catalonia. 

President of the ANC, Elisenda Paluzie, assured that all events would strictly adhere to the health guidelines and instructions issued by the Catalan government.   

Indeed, the Covid-19 figures in Catalonia are far from decreasing, and variables such as the outbreak risk continue going up – during the weekend, this index reached 200, the threshold of 'very high' risk.

Meanwhile, the new diagnoses by PCR tests continue around 1,000 a day and the transmission rate increased to 1.14, although it is now nearing 1, meaning that around every person with Covid-19 is transmitting it to another one.

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  • Screenshot of a viral video showing street celebrations in Vilafranca del Penedès on August 29, 2020

  • Screenshot of a viral video showing street celebrations in Vilafranca del Penedès on August 29, 2020

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