THE Spanish Government will grant regional leaders the power to toughen coronavirus restrictions following a rise in infection rates.
According to Ministry of Health sources, autonomous communities will be able to edit measures relating to four main areas; travelling, family/friend meetups, curfews and events.
Health Minister Salvador Illa will tell regional leaders this afternoon that they will have the power to close their outer borders, meaning no one can enter from another region, including from December 23 to January 6.
They will also be able to restrict meetings of friends and families on key Christmas dates, with the limit currently extended to 10 on December 24, 25, 31 and January 1 and 6.
The curfew will also be up for modification, particularly on Xmas eve and New Year’s Eve, when it has been extended to 1:30am.
Lastly, they will be permitted to limit the concentration of people in public spaces i.e. large scale events such as the Three King’s Parade.
Any decisions taken will be immediate and unchallenged, covered by the legal umbrella of the state of alarm declared on October 25, granting governments extra power.
It comes as the Basque Country, Catalunya, Andalucia and Extremedura have all said today that they do not rule out tightening restrictions over Christmas.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez first admitted this morning that coronavirus measures could be tightened over the Christmas period if figures worsen over the next few days.
“It is up to us and us alone to stop a third wave after Christmas,” the PSOE leader told MPs in an appearance at the Congress of Deputies (Spanish parliament).
“If the Christmas plan must be toughened, there is no doubt that that is what the Government will advise all regional leaders to do.”
The latest statistics suggest a reassuring November and first week of December are being undone following the long bank holiday weekend from December 4 to 8.
“We cannot lower our guard, in recent days we have seen a worrying increase in the number of cases,” Sanchez added, “We need one last effort.”
Under the current plan, between December 23 and January 6, people in Spain will be allowed to travel to any other region to visit and stay with family or an ‘allegado’ (close friend/loved one).
But that now seems to be up in the air, with Sanchez hinting that the population will need to make more sacrifices.
“Let’s not throw everything away,” he added, “It is up to us to make sure there is no third wave.
“We overcame the first wave with a lot of effort and if we do not lower our guard we will overcome this second one.”
The leader made it clear that the Christmas plan would be up for modification if things don’t improve over the next few days.
He added: “Christmas is a family holiday and one of affection. But the best way to prevent infections is to act as if we are infected. The best gift is safety. Taking care of ourselves keeps us safe… during these holidays it will be decided whether or not we avoid a third wave and successfully vaccinate.”