International News

Northern Ireland urges people to ‘work from home’

After several months of virtual normality with almost no restrictions across Spain, the government is reformulating a traffic light system to introduce curbs on social interaction as caseloads and hospital pressure rise with the onset of winter,  reports James Badcock from Madrid. 

The new system is currently being finalised by the Health Ministry’s expert committee, and will be based on the number of new hospital admissions as well as cumulative infection rates.

In a draft seen by Spanish media, the amber or medium-risk restrictions would kick in with a cumulative 14-day infection rate of between 100 and 300 per 100,000 inhabitants if the caseload in over-65s is over 50 and with more than 10 per cent of intensive care beds taken up by Covid-19 patients. The regions of Catalonia and Aragon are already at these levels.

Possible restrictions could include closing bars at 11pm and limits on capacity and group sizes in interiors.

Spain has maintained compulsory mask wearing in public indoor spaces since the start of the pandemic. The government is also considering whether to expand its successful vaccination campaign to offer all over-60s a booster jab, with more than half of the over-70s already having had their third jab.

“We mustn’t sit back and do nothing now cases are rising once more,” said Daniel López-Acuña, a former WHO director and special advisor to the government of Asturias on Covid-19.

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