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Junta prepared to lock down regions to control pandemic

Eyleen Gomez

By Maria Jesus Corrales

The Andalusian Government is preparing to tighten measures “for as long as necessary” in regions where Covid-19 cases cannot be traced to their source.

As Covid-19 cases rise in Andalusia, its Minister for Health Jesús Aguirre yesterday held a press conference stating the Junta is “very worried” by the increase in numbers.

The number of positive PCR test results have “doubled” in the last 15 days and the minister announced they are willing to lockdown regions if the origins of new cases cannot be discovered.

Mr Aguirre declared that “coercive” measures would be implemented in regions where epidemiologists report that it is impossible to trace the infection and that community transmission is occurring uncontrollably.

“When we cannot find out how these people are getting infected, we will automatically lock down the region for as long as necessary,” he said.

The Government will ask permission of the judiciary to do so.

He also noted that 56% of infections were occurring during celebrations and family reunions.

Andalucia will not follow the Basque Country in prohibiting groups of more than 10 people, instead maintaining the guidance that groups should not exceed that number.

But the Minister reiterated the importance of the current prevention measures such as masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing.

The minister unveiled that according to the latest statistics, Andalucia was seeing 58.73 positive diagnoses per 100,000 of population, while the national index stands at 131.22 per 100,000.

He noted that Andalucia’s index was lower than the national index, but Mr Aguirre stressed the need for caution and concern over the pandemic.

At this moment, there are 71 active outbreaks in Andalucia, including that at the El Zapillo nursing home in Almeria, where 48 residents and 23 carers have been diagnosed positive.

In the latest statistics from the Health Ministry, the 71 outbreaks were broken down by province: 14 in Malaga; 12 each in Seville, Almeria and Granada; eight in Cadiz, five each in Cordoba and Huelva and three in Jaen.

Furthermore, of the 1,107 nursing homes in Andalucia, 27 have seen positive diagnoses for Covid-19.

In the Campo de Gibraltar, 209 cases have been discovered in the last seven days, with La Linea and Algeciras coming under greater scrutiny since they reported 78 and 53 new cases respectively in the seven days up to yesterday afternoon.