Spain's Catalonia region reimposes Covid-19 restrictions as cases spike
Spain's Catalonia region said on Tuesday it will reimpose virus restrictions such as curbs on nightlife to try to tame a surge in infections, especially among unvaccinated young people.
Nightclubs will be closed as of this weekend and a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination will be needed to take part in outdoor activities involving more than 500 people, said a spokeswoman for the regional government.
"We can't pretend to have defeated the virus," she told a news conference.
"The pandemic has not ended, the new variants are very contagious and we still have significant segments of the population that are not vaccinated," she said.
It should also be made compulsory once again to wear a face mask outdoors, but only Spain's central government can reimpose this measure, she added.
Spain on June 26 stopped requiring masks outdoors in situations where it was possible to maintain social distancing.
A few other smaller regions have reimposed restrictions on social life in recent days to try to tame a rise in infections.
The northern Navarra region announced that bars and nightclubs will go back to closing at 1:00 am instead of 3:00 am, while the Cantabria region has completely shut down nightlife in several towns.
Just over 40 percent of Spain's 47 million people have been fully vaccinated, one of the highest levels in Europe, but the share falls to one in 10 vaccinated in the 20-29 age group.
Other European countries, such as France and Portugal, have opened up vaccination to all adults, but Spain has been working through age groups, with priority given to older, more vulnerable people.
Spain's nationwide 14-day infection rate reached 204 cases per 100,000 people on Monday, up from 95 cases a week ago, and neared 600 cases among younger people, according to health ministry figures.
The country is one of Europe's hardest hit by the pandemic, with over 81,000 deaths and more than 3.8 million confirmed infections.
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