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Parts of Spain shut nightlife amid rising COVID-19 cases

Parts of Spain shut nightlife amid rising COVID-19 cases
New restrictions come as infection rate goes all-time high

By Alyssa McMurtry

OVIEDO, Spain (AA) – Several regions in northern Spain are shutting down nightlife on Tuesday to combat an unprecedented surge in coronavirus infections.

The governments of Asturias and Cantabria are shutting nightclubs down entirely, while Aragon and Navarra are making discos, bars restaurants close their doors just after midnight.

On Tuesday, the government of La Rioja also announced the implementation of vaccine passports in more sectors and that bars, restaurants, and nightclubs must shut down by 1 a.m.

The new restrictions come as more than one out of every 100 people in Spain have tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks. In parts of northern Spain, one out of every 50 people has recently caught the virus.

Since the pandemic began, the infection rate hasn’t been as high in Spain. At the same time, 18% of all tests are coming back positive.

At a national level, masks are required both indoors and outdoors. The decisions to implement further restrictions are up to regional governments.

Some governments like Madrid and Castile and Leon, where infection rates are also higher than average, have ruled out implementing more measures ahead of the New Year’s celebrations.

“What is happening now was to be expected and is manageable,” said Antonio Zapatero, head of health policy in Madrid, in a news conference Tuesday. “The symptoms that omicron are producing are comparable to an acute seasonal viral infection.”

He noted that the number of hospitalized patients has decreased 86% compared to the surge last winter before most people were vaccinated.

While drastically lower than in past waves, the number of hospitalized patients and deaths are increasing in Spain.

After the Christmas long weekend, hospitals were treating 1,600 more people for COVID-19 infections. Another 120 people died.

Around 8% of all hospital beds and 18% of intensive care units in the country are being used by COVID-19 patients.

But with 90% of people aged 12 and older vaccinated and the uncertainty around omicron’s severity, strategies to contain the surge are hotly debated and vary considerably across the country.

source: News Feed
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