ANDALUCIA has announced it will maintain its Christmas deescalation plan following a meeting with the national Government and the 16 other autonomous regions tonight.

It means from December 18 residents will be permitted to travel between the eight provinces while bars and restaurants can operate a late service between 8pm and 10:30pm.

Shops will also be able to return to normal opening hours, but must close by 10:30pm.

President Juanma Moreno will not follow the advice given by the Health Ministry in Madrid today, which suggested tightening restrictions over the festive period.

The Partido Popular leader does not see any reason – as of yet – to steer course, sources said, given that Andalucia has the second-lowest incidence rate out of all 17 regions.

As of Wednesday the ever-important figure stood at 135 cases per 100,000 people, far below the national average and beaten only by the Canary Islands.

It means Thursday’s meeting with the ‘expert committee’ at the Junta will not result in any changes to the lifting of restrictions, scheduled to begin Friday.

However the evolution of the virus will be closely monitored and measures can be toughened up at any point if deemed necessary, the Junta warned.

Moreno praised Andalucia for achieving an ‘equilibrium’ between lowering infection rates and retaining a level of economic activity.

The cumulative incidence rate has dropped from 577 cases per 100,000 people in early November to 135 cases as of Wednesday.

Moreno said the curve has been lowered without having to resort to extreme measures, such as completely shutting down the hospitality industry, as was ordered in Catalunya and Asturias.

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