The Health Department for the Valencian Community has announced the measures it wants to implement for social contact over the Christmas period. The region has taken its proposals to the working commission that is meeting at a national level to try to agree on a common measure among all the autonomous communities for the Christmas holidays. These must be approved by the Inter-territorial Council.
The recommendations are that members of the same family meeting at a private home will be allowed a gathering of ten family members. However, social gatherings in private homes or in restaurants will be limited to six people. This measure will apply on 24th, 25th and 31st December and 1st, 5th and 6th January. On these days the curfew will be relaxed until 1am but only on those specific six days.
The measures were announced by the Minister of Health, Ana Barceló, who also indicated that the perimeter closure of the Valencian Community could be maintained until January, with the exception of the six indicated days, when it will be possible to freely enter and leave the Valencian Community. The Minister pointed out that the decision to extend or not the perimeter closure will be the decision of the President of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, who will decide whether to maintain it or lift it by 9th December.
The Health Minister said that the desirable outcome is that there is a common agreement so that each autonomous community does not opt for a different criterion when celebrating the holiday. However, if there is no agreement the region will request to apply these measures. There should be no legal issues because they do not affect any fundamental right other than those that are currently limited under the protection of the state of alarm decree, which is valid until April.
The councillor discussed the possibility that the restrictions on the capacity in shops and hotels could be relaxed leading up to Christmas, but will depend on the evolution of the pandemic.
“We are in favour of keeping the measures in force until a week before the start of the festivities and depending on the case numbers, they will be a eased or tightened.”
The 9th December is the date on which the restrictions in force end and before that day the measures will be reviewed based on the epidemiological situation. She warned that in order for them to be eased, the Community should be “very well, very well, very well, but it does not seem that this is going to be the case given the data”.
The reason for limiting the maximum number of people who can meet at parties or gatherings to 6 or 10, is the high number of outbreaks that have their origin in family and friends gatherings – which stands at 92 percent of the total of the social outbreaks. For Ana Barceló «there is something priority, fundamental: that alarming 92% must go down.
The Health Minister said: “Only the responsibility of each Valencian, today more than ever, can open the door to a more endearing Christmas”.
Regarding the evolution of the pandemic in the Valencian Community, at the moment, the cumulative incidence is 281.55 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to the national average of 340.83 and the reproduction index is 0.89, “which means that, by falling below 1, we are no longer transmitting.” However, the councillor remembers what happened as a result of the October 12 bridge holiday, “when we were doing very well and suddenly there was an exponential rise that we did not expect.” The occupancy of covid patients in the hospital wards of the Valencian Community is 13.25 percent and in terms of the Intensive Care Units its 31.5 percent.