Spain’s Canary Islands and Valencia seek return to curfews as youth infections rage

Canary Islands looking to impose curfew

Canary Islands looking to impose curfew. image: Wikipedia

Spain’s tourist hotspots of the Canary Islands and Valencia seek a return to curfews as youth infections rage.

Spain’s Canary Islands and the region of Valencia have asked the Federal government to bring back curfews in a bid to counter a soaring COVID-19 infection rate among unvaccinated youngsters that is threatening to scupper the vital summer tourism season.

Nationwide, cases had been dwindling over recent months but began to surge from the middle of June, propelled by the more contagious Delta variant and more socialising among younger groups, especially in Mallorca as previously reported.

Concerned by the surge, Germany designated Spain a high-risk area on Friday, July 9, obliging returning travellers to take a test to avoid quarantine and potentially cutting off an important source of high-spending sunseekers.

France had already warned its citizens from visiting, though Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto defended Spain as safe.

Hospital admissions are on the rise but remain far below levels seen earlier this year, while intensive care occupancy is less than 7%. Daily deaths have been declining since April as the most vulnerable groups, such as elderly people and those with pre-existing conditions, have been vaccinated.

Since a state of emergency expired in May, regional authorities have been responsible for the COVID-19 response but need court authorisation or a government decree for strict measures like lockdowns, travel bans and curfews.

The Canaries’ regional government said late on Thursday it would ask its Supreme Court to authorise a 12:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on Tenerife, which has the islands’ highest coronavirus incidence.

Defending the measure, regional leader Angel Victor Torres told Cadena Ser radio on Friday it would prevent crowds building up at night and over the weekends.

“Pressure on hospitals is starting to grow. In Tenerife, ICU occupation is at around 15% and young people are being admitted to intensive care,” he said.

Valencia, home to the popular resort of Benidorm, and the central region of Castilla and Leon had already asked the central government for curfews but Health Minister Carolina Darias said on Wednesday that they were “not on the table.”

Highly dependent on tourism, Spain is trying to strike a delicate balance between opening up enough to entice back travellers while keeping infections in check.

Britain, which was Spain’s largest source of foreign tourists before the pandemic, announced earlier on Friday that it planned to scrap a 10-day quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travellers returning from other countries in the coming weeks.

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Ron Howells

Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!. Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.