Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Spain’s regions mull stricter measures to control virus

More than 45,500 people infected in last 2 weeks

Alyssa McMurtry   | 12.08.2020
Spain’s regions mull stricter measures to control virus

OVIEDO, Spain

As COVID-19 outbreaks grow more powerful in different regions of Spain, various regions are considering enforcing stricter measures to control the virus.

On Wednesday, the Health Ministry confirmed 3,172 new COVID-19 cases, down slightly from Tuesday, but the data from the region of Madrid was not included.

Still, the weekly total and two-week tallies continue to rise. Over the last two weeks, 45,532 people have been infected.

The total number of hospitalizations also jumped by 144 on Wednesday, but the number of deaths decreased by two since the Basque Country “cleaned” its data.

Germany has now advised against travel to the Basque Country and Madrid, whereas previously it only warned against travel to the areas of Catalonia, Aragon and Navarra.

As of Wednesday, the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna is also requiring all travelers from Spain to take a test for COVID-19 within a day of landing. If it turns out positive, it will enforce a two-week quarantine. The entire country of Italy could soon adopt the same measure, according to local media reports.

The premier of Galicia, which has seen a sharp uptick in cases, announced Thursday that he was considering banning smoking on streets or outdoor patios when social distance cannot be kept to avoid the transmission of coronavirus.

Likewise, the government of the Balearic Islands is considering tightening up maximum occupancy rules. The islands have gone from one of Spain’s least affected areas to counting 231 new cases in the last day, according to local data.

Regional authorities in the Spanish region of Extremadura also announced they would ask the Health Ministry for “exceptional measures” to confine certain groups and take more measures to curb contagion.

Extremadura had previously tried to limit gatherings to a maximum of 15 people, but judges said it was not legal.

Courts knocked down several regional laws to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Spain. In Catalonia, for instance, the high court ordered the reopening of gyms and movie theaters and even lifted the order to confine a region.

In Asturias, where bars must now close at 2 a.m., the local hospitality association announced on Wednesday that it has filed a case in court hoping that the measures will be considered illegal and lifted.

Earlier this week, Spain’s chief epidemiologist Fernando Simon said “the legal tools that regional governments have [to limit the spread of COVID-19] appear to be sufficient,” adding that they must be properly justified for the courts to accept them.

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