Canary Islands a deadline has been given two weeks to remove all restrictions of capacity, groups and schedules imposed as a result of the coronavirus crisis in August 2020. The idea is to gradually end all those measures that have ruled the social and economic life of the Archipelago in the last two years, given the "trend positive" that the pandemic has acquired in recent weeks and the de-escalation processes that are gaining strength in the rest of the world. When they are eliminated, only those essential hygienic measures to live with the virus will remain on the Islands, such as the use of the mask indoors, physical distance or hand washing.
"What is expected is that we will witness a process of normalization in economic, social and economic life." This was evidenced by the Deputy Minister of the Presidency, Antonio Olivera, in a press conference held after the Governing Council, in which he also explained the new measures that will prevail over the next week on the islands and that form part of this de-escalation process in the that the Canary Islands have been deepening for two weeks.
Thus, if last week it was decided to impose the restrictive criteria of a lower level of the covid traffic light than the islands were; This one has been lowered one more step.
The Canary Islands opt for a de-escalation against the abrupt elimination
As a result of this further easing of restrictions, the islands have been divided into two groups with restrictions according to what until now were known as levels 1 and 2. In the first group are Tenerife and Gran Canaria, "the islands with the worst indicators", as Olivera highlighted. In this way, the citizens of the capital islands, which remain at level 4, will enjoy restrictions in accordance with level 2. This means that the meetings will be of 8 people - until now they were limited to 6 -, the capacity they will be less strict, being able to open 75% outdoors and half indoors, and bars and nightlife venues gain one more hour of activity, being able to close at 03:00. There will also be, in this sense, a relaxation of visits to hospitals, which may begin to receive visits in a more lax manner, although always "remembering that there are vulnerable people and prevention and precautionary measures must be extreme."
In the second group of islands, in which all non-capital islands are found, level 1 measures will prevail. Thus, the inhabitants of Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, El Hierro, La Gomera and La Palma will have the possibility of meeting in groups of 12 , they will be able to go to the bars and nightlife until 04:00 in the morning and will have the possibility of enjoying full capacity outdoors and 75% indoors. Fuerteventura, El Hierro, La Gomera and La Palma have epidemiological indicators that place them at high risk - associated with level 3 - while Lanzarote now enjoys a medium risk, associated with level 2.
As a general rule, capacity will be 75% outdoors and half indoors in Tenerife and Gran Canaria
These capacity restrictions do not affect culture or professional sports, as confirmed by Olivera. In both cases, the capacity is established at 85% outdoors and 75% indoors. In the case of professional sports, in addition, as of March 4, 100% capacity will be allowed outdoorsas decided in the Interterritorial Health Council.
"The important thing is that the epidemiological data confirm that, despite the fact that the restrictions are reduced, the data is improving," Olivera said. The downward trend is similar in all the islands, with the exception of Lanzarote, where it has stabilized, and Fuerteventura, where it is on the rise. The rest of the islands have experienced a setback in their epidemic curve. Tenerife, which registers 433 new cases, adds 2,732 weekly, which represents a decrease of 13%. Gran Canaria, for its part, has increased its cases by 400, with which this week it has registered a total of 2,664, 14% less than the previous week. La Palma with 41 positives, El Hierro with 10 and La Gomera with 4, continue their decline in cases. The same does not happen with Fuerteventura (109 new cases) that experiences a slight increase in cases.
In this sense, Olivera stressed that "if the indicators continue to improve", in the end all the islands will find themselves in a single group of restrictions that will not need to be differentiated. Likewise, Olivera took the opportunity to defend the de-escalation criterion that the Government of the Canary Islands has chosen. As explained by the regional Executive, it has dismissed the "abrupt elimination" of the restrictions, "as other countries have done that have removed the restrictions from one day to the next", in order to continue controlling the epidemiological situation while the sixth wave faded. "We did not want to close the possibility of controlling the improvement process by establishing a progressive relaxation", Olivera recounted.
Restrictions will continue to fade in the Archipelago, with an eye toward lifting them altogether in about two weeks' time. Therefore, the long-awaited normality could return to the Islands at the beginning of March, just two years after the pandemic began that has cut short the lives of all canaries.
Olivera took advantage of the appearance to report on the progress of vaccination in the Canary Islands, where 82.3% of the population has already been inoculated with the full schedule. "We have been weeks in which this data has stabilized, but it continues to progress and improve," warned the deputy minister. Protection against the coronavirus has also been extended among the smallest, and 50.2% of the pediatric population already has at least the first dose of Pfizer's vaccine. Another 815,000 people have received the booster dose, so it too "continues to make progress."