Current limitations, in effect until January 15, have failed to curb the spread of coronavirus during the Christmas holidays, but given the amount of flexibility regarding travel and mixing, this was hardly surprising.
As expected the increase in new cases has spiralled with much of the Community health system, particularly in areas north of Alicante, now under immense pressure.
Coronavirus patients currently occupy 20.5 percent of the available places in hospitals. This percentage rises to 34 percent in ICUs. In both cases the figures are the highest in Spain.
As a result of the increase in cases, and with a number of hospitals close to saturation point, the President, Ximo Puig, called a meeting of the Interdepartmental Table for Prevention and Action against the coronavirus this morning, in which the latest data was analysed together with the introduction of new measures.
The announcement was first scheduled for 12 noon. It was then delayed until 1pm but when the President did face the media his announcements included:
- Closure of the Valencian border extended to 31 January,
- Night time curfew brought forward to 10pm.
- Bars and restaurants to close at 5pm.
- Smoking prohibited on terraces
- Maximum of 4 people around a table in a restaurant,
- Internal capacity of shops and stores reduced to 30%.
- Any activities that involve a concentration of people are not allowed, entertainment, cultural.
- Home deliveries will be maintained
- All gyms and leisure and sports centres must close.
- Schools will remain open.
- 26 municipalities will close their borders for 14 days from Thursday, January 7. They are: Borriol, Atzeneta del Maestrat, Soneja, Jérica, Alcoy, Castalla, Polop, Llíria, Massanassa, Ayora, Utiel, Sedaví, Sollana, Guadassuar, Moixent, Ontinyent, Oliva, Daimús, Canals, Benigànim, Sinarcas, Anna, Bonrepós i Mirambell, Xàtiva, Quatretonda and Cheste.
Only Alcoi, Castalla and Polop are in the Alicante Province.
In the words of Ximo Puig, this is a “serious situation” that requires a “forceful and immediate” response . First, we have now seen an increase in the incidence of coronavirus by 16% in the last two weeks; Hospitalisations have also increased by 56% in the last two weeks and 196 people have died from covid in the last week.
The new restrictions in the Valencian Community come into effect this Thursday