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UPDATE - Spain's Catalonia to impose new COVID measures starting from Christmas Eve

UPDATE - Spain's Catalonia to impose new COVID measures starting from Christmas Eve
Night curfew from 1 to 6 am and limitation of gatherings bigger than 10 people take effect from midnight

UPDATES WITH HIGH COURT'S DECISION, CHANGES HEADLINE, DECK, LEDE

By Beyza Binnur Donmez

ANKARA (AA) - Catalonia is set to introduce fresh COVID-19 restrictions, including a night curfew and a limitation of gatherings, after authorization from the region's top court on Thursday.

Amid a spike in infections in the northwestern region of Spain, the High Court of Justice released its decision endorsing the measures despite pushback from the prosecutor's office, which had earlier filed a written message arguing against the government's request to impose new restrictions.

The stay-home order will be in force from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. (2400GMT-0500GMT), while gatherings will be limited to no more than 10 people starting at midnight and coinciding with Christmas Eve.

Only municipalities with a high incidence rate -- at least 250 cases per 100,000 people -- will impose the night curfew.

The Catalonian government had also introduced other measures that did not require judicial approval, such as the closure of nightlife venues, a capacity reduction to 50% for restaurants, as well as 70% for shops, gyms, and cultural activities.

Earlier in the day, the prosecutor's office called these restrictions "severe, extensive, very restrictive" and not "necessary," in a written message to the High Court of Justice of Catalonia.

The southeastern region of Murcia joined Catalonia on Thursday, also imposing night curfews.

The new restrictions came just a day after Spain recorded its highest number of virus cases since the pandemic began, with over 60,000.

The previous all-time high of 49,000 daily infections was hit on Tuesday, surpassing the previous all-time high set in January.

Omicron and an uptick in social activity around the holiday season are likely behind the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases.

Despite a record number of cases, Spain's central government is relying on vaccines and masks to combat the new COVID-19 wave, rather than restricting social activities.

Meanwhile, Spain’s Cabinet on Thursday approved a requirement to wear masks outdoors – a restriction announced by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez following a meeting with regional leaders on Wednesday.

In Spain, 90% of the population 12 and over has been fully immunized, while 74% of people 60 and over have gotten booster shots.

source: News Feed
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