VALENCIAN Health Minister, Ana Barcelo, has insisted that bringing forward the curfew start-time is one of the ‘few options left’ to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

Yesterday(January 20), Spain’s Health Minister, Salvador Illa, rebuffed pleas from the regional governments to be given immediate permission to begin the curfew at 8.00 pm.

The current provisions of the nationally-decreed State of Alarm do not allow the regions start curfews before 10.00 pm.

The Valencian Community almost reached 10,000 new infections in a day on Wednesday in a pandemic-high record, along with another new peak for hospitalisations.

Speaking to Onda Cero Radio today, Ana Barcelo said: “We have less and less flexibility to introduce new measures to combat infection rates that are much higher than we saw in the first wave of the pandemic.”

The Valencian Community today imposed the closure of the hospitality sector and the shutting of non-essential businesses at 6.00 pm.

“These are very harsh measures that have placed the region into semi-confinement, but if they do not work, then we need to be allowed to do more ” Barcelo added.

She said that there was ‘total agreement’ amongst the regions over a curfew extension in their talks with Salvador Illa, ‘irrespective’ of which political party was in charge.

“The Health Minister did listen to what the regions had to say over the curfew and that he would study their request,” commented Barcelo.

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