Tuesday 29th June 2021 – PRESS RELEASE with Mike Smith
As active cases in the Comunidad Valenciana increase by more than 35% over the weekend, the president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig, has called on more prudence and responsibility and recommended that masks continue to worn outdoors, except on beaches and in natural spaces,
The president spoke after a meeting of the Interdepartmental Group for Prevention and Action against COVID-19, during which an extension of the current measures in the Comunidad Valenciana was agreed, coming into force on Thursday 1st July and continuing until at least Tuesday 15th July, in order to consolidate a “prudent and responsible opening” as well as a “safe and effective recovery” in economic, social and emotional terms.
He said that the pandemic “is not over and no-one should be over-confident because that would be irresponsible, foolish and selfish”, assuring the citizens of the Comunidad Valenciana that COVID-19 continues to be a health, social and economic threat for the region.
There has been a significant rebound in infections in recent days and Puig expressed concerns about the detection of the delta variant. When the current measures came into force on June 8th, the IA rate, a measure of how effective the virus spreads, was 45 cases per 100,000 inhabitants; it is now more than 75. However, he stressed that vaccination is working and that this rebound has not -yet – put pressure on the hospital system, thanks mainly to the fact that the most vulnerable in the population are already protected. Specifically, the number of people hospitalized has reduced from 137 to 126 in the past month and that the number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients is half that of the national average whilst ICU occupancy is just a quarter of the national figure.
During his press conference, during which he was accompanied by the regional health secretary, Ana Barceló, the president said that “the vaccination of young people is now a priority” and consequently the general vaccination plan for these age groups has been brought forward by 12 days with the 30-39 age group starting next Monday, although it has already begun in rural areas.
Through this acceleration of the vaccination campaign, the president hopes that will allow the region to achieve group immunity within two months. At the moment 2.5 million Valencians have been vaccinated and more than 1.6 million are fully immunized.
Puig explained that in the last 48 hours, 52% of the new infections detected across the Comunidad Valenciana have affected young people between the ages of 15 and 29 and, although many of them are asymptomatic, there are currently 20 people below the age of 34 admitted to hospital, one of which has been placed in intensive care. He added that the IA rate for this age group has reached 172 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, well above the average for the region.
In addition, the president has called on young people to maintain the “admirable maturity and responsibility” shown during the pandemic and to “care more about their health” and that of people who have not yet been fully vaccinated.
Puig said that it is clear that the “progressive lifting” of restrictions during the past month, such as the end of the curfew, the opening of the region to others and the end of the mandatory use of a mask outdoors, has “had effects” since they have coincided with the end of the academic year, the arrival of summer and the good weather, and the feeling of security due to the mass vaccination which has resulted in “more movement, more social interaction and less mask wearing”.
The Generalitat Valenciana has also prepared a guide with all the basic guidelines for keeping interior spaces ventilated, which can be consulted on the website, and it will also be distributed to shops, hotels, bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, and museums.
Opening of Fiesta Venues
The regional health secretary, Ana Barceló, announced that the opening of fiesta venues, such as Fallas casals, will be allowed from Thursday 1st July, although there will be conditions and she called on those in this sector to be responsible.
The local council will regulate the opening and closing times of these venues in which food and drink can be consumed in line with the measures which are already established for the hospitality sector, such as no consumption at the bar, 50% capacity inside, and a maximum of ten people per table. For the rest of their activities, such as administrative tasks, the capacity of 75% is maintained.