Catalonia bans gatherings of more than 10 people

Madrid has ruled out similar measure, called on residents to limit non-essential interactions

Catalonia PM Catalonia Quim Torra announced a raft of new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus cases in the region before students return to school on 14 September, local media repoprted. “In these three weeks, we are staking everything that could happen in the fall and the winter,” he said.

The toughest restriction announced by Torra is a ban on social gatherings of more than 10 people across the region, with the exception of work meetings and when travelling. The regional government in Murcia also announced on Monday that social gatherings would be limited to a maximum of six people if they do not live together.

For the past week, the regional government in Catalonia has been warning that a great collective effort is needed to slow the transmission of the virus. After stabilising for a few weeks, the number of cases is once again on the rise in the northeastern region. “We are no longer in a stable position, [cases] are persistently rising,” Torra said.

The risk of a Covid-19 outbreak in Catalonia, according to the growth potential index (EPG) and regional figures, is at 180.13 – 20 points higher than at the beginning of August, and much higher than the 100-point threshold used to classify “high” risk. The rate of transmission (Rt) is at 1.12, meaning one case will infect an average of 1.12 people.

There are currently 672 coronavirus patients in hospital and 134 in intensive care – an increase from the figures reported two weeks ago. This month, regional health authorities have carried out more than 21,000 PCR tests in different neighborhoods and communities in a bid to identify asymptomatic cases and break the chain of transmission. Of these tests, 512 asymptomatic cases have been detected, representing 2.4% of the total.

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