Spain’s region of Catalonia re-imposes Covid-19 restrictions as cases rise

Spain’s region of Catalonia said on Tuesday it will again impose virus restrictions, such as curbing nightlife, to try to tame a wave of infections, especially among unvaccinated young people.

Nightclubs will be closed from this weekend and a negative Covid-19 test or a vaccination certificate is required to participate in outdoor activities involving more than 500 people, a regional government spokeswoman said.

“We cannot pretend that we have defeated the virus,” she told a news conference.

“The pandemic is not over yet, the new variants are very contagious and we still have significant sections of the population that have not been vaccinated,” she said.

Wearing a face mask outdoors should also be made mandatory again, but only Spain’s central government can re-impose this measure, she added.

Spain stopped mandating masks outdoors on June 26 in situations where it was possible to maintain social distancing.

A few other smaller regions have reintroduced restrictions on social life in recent days to try to tame a rise in infections.

The northern region of Navarra has announced that bars and nightclubs will close again at 1:00 AM instead of 3:00 AM, while the Cantabria region has completely shut down nightlife in several cities.

Just over 40 percent of Spain’s 47 million residents are fully vaccinated, one of the highest levels in Europe, but the proportion falls to one in 10 vaccinated people aged 20-29.

Other European countries, such as France and Portugal, have opened up vaccination to all adults, but Spain has worked through age groups, prioritizing older, more vulnerable people.

Spain’s national 14-day infection rate reached 204 cases per 100,000 people on Monday, up from 95 cases a week ago, and nearly 600 cases among younger people, according to health ministry figures.

The country is one of Europe’s hardest hit by the pandemic, with more than 81,000 deaths and more than 3.8 million confirmed infections.


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