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There is just over a week to go before Spain's state of alarm ends on May 9th. That means that the special emergency status which has facilitated the legal coverage for curfews and other Covid measures across the Spanish state will no longer apply, and as a consequence, the Catalan government is studying what legal reforms it could implement to continue to have the power to maintain a curfew or order new perimeter confinements. The government of the Generalitat wants to pass a cabinet decree that will modify the Catalan law on public health when it meets next Tuesday to allow it to self-manage the coronavirus pandemic within Catalonia, as Catalan public television channel TV3 has reported.

In any case, despite these mechanisms, it will be the Catalan High Court (TSJC) which will have the last word on any proposed new limitations, and this will also require the Catalan administration to change the way it manages these measures, since they will not be able to be applied immediately. From 9th May onwards, an endorsement of the Catalan government's plans by the court will be required, with the judges having to examine whether any given restriction affects the rights of citizens.

With just 10 days to go until this change of regime, there is a level of uncertainty, and it must be remembered that in Catalonia, when curfew was decreed on October 25th, 2020, authorities throughout the Spanish state called for a second Covid usage of the State of Alarm provisions in order to broaden the options they would legally have in terms of Covid measures. From the Spanish government, deputy PM Carmen Calvo has now stated that "without a State of Alarm, any measure is allowed except lockdown."

Future measures

The Catalan executive does not want to specify what restrictions it might propose, arguing that this would means "explaining scenarios that are not yet known", but it admits that "mechanisms are being studied, in case it is necessary to decree restrictions on nighttime mobility or perimeter closure". On the possibility of ending restrictions given some positive trends in Covid cases and vaccinations, the acting government has stated that any decision will, as usual during the pandemic, be in the hands of the Procicat civil protection committee and the Covid crisis cabinet.

Data mixed

According to the latest Covid data for Catalonia this Thursday, the pressure on the health system from the pandemic is easing. Today, patient numbers in ICUs are falling, and have once again gone below the 500 mark. By contrast, new cases confirmed are rising again, with the daily total surpassing the 2,000 barrier in Catalonia.

The outbreak risk is now at 292 points, five more than yesterday, while the Rt or transmission rate is just on the high side of the critical level of 1; specifically, it is at 1.04, up 0.01 from yesterday. That is, every 100 people who are infected are currently passing the virus on to 104 people. The IA14 - the rate of new cases in the last 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants - is 281.59, and this figure has also risen.


Main image: Catalan vice president Pere Aragonès and presidency minister Meritxell Budó / ACN