ANDALUCIA will remain in phase 1 of the three-phase plan for the progressive de-escalation of COVID-19 measures for two more weeks due to the high incidence of COVID-19 in the region.

According to Andalucia’s Minister of Health, Jesus Aguirre, the COVID-19 incidence rate in Andalucia is ‘stable but not low’ and has forced the Junta to slow down the de-escalation plan towards normality.

The announcement was made following the weekly meeting of the Advisory Council on High Impact Public Health Alerts (the so-called committee of experts).

Andalucia has an incidence rate of 176.6 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, an average slightly higher than the rest of Spain, a figure which ‘worries’ the Andalucian government because the community is not able to go below 150 cases—the threshold to be considered at medium risk.

As a result, Andalucia will remain in phase 1, which means that the opening hours for the hotel and catering industry throughout Andalucia will remain unchanged until midnight, with tables of up to 10 people permitted on terraces, up to 8 inside.

Nightclubs can open until 2am, although with limitations and dance floors are only permtted in outdoor spaces with masks and only in level 1 areas.

There are no restrictions at beaches and swimming pools as long as the social distancing between groups can be maintained.

Despite the set-back in Andalucia’s de-escalation plan, the regional Minister of Health remains optimistic, according to Aguirre, hospital occupancy and ICU occupancy are not rising and maintain similar figures to those registered last September, additionally there has been a drop in the number of infections among Andalucians over the age of 64, which Aguirre attributes to ‘the vaccine which is working’.

The committee of experts will meet again in two weeks to analyse whether Andalucia passes to phase 2 of the de-escalation plan.

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