THE Valencia region of Spain has within two months achieved the status of recording the lowest COVID-19 infection rates in Europe based on the latest figures released by the Ministry of Health.
As of yesterday(March 17), the Valencian Community has a cumulative infection rate of 39 cases per 100,000 people.
It has gone below 50 cases on the World Health Organisation benchmark which places into a ‘low risk’ category and has almost reached a European Union standard of 4% positivity that ranks it as ‘minimal risk’.
At the end of January, Valencia had the highest infection rate in Spain, standing at 1,500 infections per 100,000.
The regional figure of 39 compares to Spain’s national average of 127 cases, while the best European statistics come from Germany with 162; the UK on 120; Russia with 97; and Portugal on 82.
Beyond Europe, the Valencia case ratio is currently one of the best in the world for a sizeable populated area.
In comparative terms, Spain’s Ministry of Health says that amongst the major countries, India with 21 cases; Japan on 12; and South Korea on 11.7 are the only ones that are better than the Valencia region.
Hospitalisation figures are well below Spain’s national average.
Only 3% of hospital beds are occupied across the Valencia region by COVID-19 patients with under 150 people in intensive care
The impressive turnround over two months is attributed to some of the toughest restrictions in Spain imposed by the Valencian government in January.
That included a complete closure of the hospitality sector and the weekend perimeter closure of 16 cities, as well as maintaining regional border shutdown first imposed last October.
In spite of calls from the hospitality and tourist trade, the Valencian government has refused to quickly relax the restrictions amid fears of a fourth COVID-19 wave and concerns about virulent strains like the one discovered in Britain in late December.
A slight relaxation took place on March 1 but the rules will be kept in place until at least April 12 which is the last day of the Easter holiday period.