The Ministry of Health has notified 12,289 new cases of coronavirus in its balance this Thursday, of which 5,073 have been registered in the last 24 hours. In total, there are already 1,617,355 people who have been infected with the virus in the country. It also adds 337 deaths to the total count, which increases the number of deaths with COVID-19 to 44,374 since the health crisis began in Spain.
“Saving Christmas” may condemn Europe to a big wave of COVID-19 in January
Five communities register more than a thousand infections in the last 24 hours. With 3,563 new positives, Andalusia is the region that reports the most cases. They are followed by the Valencian Community with 1,507, Catalunya with 1,422, Madrid 1,223 and Castilla-La Mancha, which reports 1,008 new infections.
The incidence continues with a downward evolution “for almost four weeks”, as pointed out by the director of the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, during the press conference this Thursday. According to today’s balance, it stands at 325.50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days. However, Simón has been prudent in showing optimism since current values continue to be far from the target of 50 cases per 100,000, “if possible below 25”. Castilla y León, Asturias and the Basque Country register an incidence higher than 500, while only the Canary Islands –with 77.6 cases per 100,000– have a rate lower than one hundred.
This “favorable trend”, as described by the technical director of the Ministry of Health, is also reflected in the hospital occupancy rate in all autonomous communities, both in general beds, with 12.3% destined for COVID patients , as in ICU, with 28.6% occupancy. “These are data that are not yet good,” Simón stressed and pointed out that hospitals still suffer from healthcare pressure. There are currently 15,316 people hospitalized with the virus; 2,815 in ICU. The most pressured regions are Melilla, Asturias and Aragon. All of them register an ICU occupancy greater than 40%; Melilla reaches 50%.
The risk of “saving Christmas”
Despite this downward trend in the contagion curve, experts warn of the risk of relaxing measures in the face of the Christmas holidays. A report from the European Center for Disease Control warns that “saving Christmas” may unleash a third big wave of infections in January throughout Europe. In Spain, the decision on Christmas measures it’s been delayed a week while seeking a “maximum consensus” in the Interterritorial Council.
Regional governments not only have their eyes on Christmas, they also start planning its protocols for the next bridge of the Constitution, from December 4 to 8. In this sense, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Extremadura and Galicia have already announced that they will remain open, while Cantabria and Castilla y León have shown supporters of the closure and Aragon has not yet made a decision. The other ten autonomous communities and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla have already confirmed perimeter closures. These two dates – Christmas and the Constitution Bridge – will be decisive in the evolution of infections, Simón pointed out.
The Junta de Castilla y León borders the provinces with the lowest incidence
At the closest level, several communities continue to apply restrictive measures to try to contain the virus. The Junta de Castilla y León has announced this Thursday that Ávila and Segovia will close perimeter from this midnight. Contrary to what usually happens, the regional government has chosen to limit the movement in the two provinces that have a lower incidence of the virus. The order, signed by the President of the Board, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, justifies this measure as a way to “protect the health” of citizens and “reduce the risk of contagion.”
For its part, Aragon has communicated the end of the perimeter closure for the three provincial capitals as of next Monday, although it will maintain movement limitations for the provinces and the autonomous community.
The anticovid protocols will still be very present in the coming months. The effects of the new vaccines will take time to arrive, as the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, recalled this morning in the Congress of Deputies. “We have to be realistic. Vaccination will be a progressive process and it will take time to get a sufficient number of people vaccinated so that we can safely relax measures,” he warned. The minister maintains that the “percentage of vaccination that guarantees immunity” it won’t come until next summer.