Madrid, Jul 6 (EFE).- Faced with soaring numbers of new coronavirus infections among unvaccinated young people, Barcelona announced Tuesday it would shut down nightlife venues starting this weekend.
“We cannot pretend that we have overcome the virus. The data is worrying and the number of infections is growing at an exponential rate far beyond what we can afford,” Catalonia’s regional government spokesperson, Patricia Plaja, told a press conference.
Nightlife venues across Spain reopened just three weeks ago, but since a spike in cases started to increase pressure on health care services, some regions have decided to reinstate curbs on nightlife.
In Navarra, which is reporting some 500 new coronavirus cases per day, nightclubs will go back to closing at 1 am instead of 3am, and in at least 16 towns in the Cantabria region, all nightlife will be shut down.
The rise in infections is due to the increasing spread of the Delta variant, which accounts for some 20% of Covid-19 cases in Spain, but also due to the fact that only 1 in ten people between 20-29 are vaccinated.
Experts have said that the country is entering a fifth wave of infections, affecting mainly young people.
“Unfortunately we have entered a fifth wave for days now and it is very foreseeable that it will continue to increase,” sources from Spain’s National Epidemiology Center told Efe.
Even though this wave will look very different to previous ones, experts warn it could still lead to severe cases and spread amid the unvaccinated population.
“This feeling that young people are not affected by the virus, that they are asymptomatic, is generating the idea that nothing is happening but the reality is that it is happening, and that it not only affects the youngest, but also those who are not yet immunized and are at risk,” professor at Andalusia’s School of Public Health, Joan Carles March, told Efe.
Some 40% of people in Spain have been fully vaccinated against the symptoms of Covid-19, but experts warn that many in older age groups, like 60-69, have not completed the full vaccine course, putting them at risk of severe cases.
The rise in cases also coincides with the government’s easing of restrictions, which included an end to obligatory face-mask use in outdoor public areas.
The seven-day incidence rate in people among 20-29 is three times higher than the national rate, reaching up to 500 cases per 100,000. EFE