The EU recommends isolating all areas with more than 500 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants | Society

The European Commission has proposed this Monday to tighten the recommendations on movement restrictions to sharply isolate areas with a cumulative incidence of more than 500 cases of covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days. The new recommendation, which Brussels expects Member States to approve in a matter of hours or days, would mean a travel ban, except for exceptional reasons, for residents of the affected areas. Many Spanish provinces, including Madrid and Barcelona, ​​exceed the threshold set by the Commission.

The lock will affect all trips considered non-essential, that is, from tourism trips to work or family trips that are not valued as essential. Only carriers will be exempt and, according to the Commission, they should be allowed through without imposing restrictive measures such as quarantines.

“The situation in Europe, with the new variants, leads us to make difficult but necessary decisions,” said the president of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, after approving the project with the new restrictive measures. The recommendation will return the continent to a situation of semi-paralysis similar to that registered in spring, during the first wave of the pandemic.

In the case of Spain, a large part of the territory exceeds 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The only ones that, According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, from last Friday, would remain outside this European confinement would be the Canary Islands and the Cantabrian coast: Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country and Navarra. In the rest of the Autonomous Communities, the norm will prevent the movement towards the rest of Europe, as well as the arrival from abroad as long as the index does not drop below 500 cases.

The tightening of control comes as a response to the spread of new strains of the virus, an escalation of cases that has triggered alarms in almost all the countries of the European Union. The current recommendation, adopted in October of last year, established movement limits for areas with more than 150 cases and less than 500, but in no case did it contemplate the categorical prohibition of movements.

The draft recommendation establishes a new category in the epidemiological map, dark red, reserved for areas where the cumulative incidence of cases over 14 days exceeds the threshold of 500. The text states that “Member States must strongly discourage travel non-essential to and from areas classified as dark red ”. The document only contemplates exceptions for the passage of freight transport, an activity for which a system of open lanes will be established at the borders, and for cross-border workers in essential services, such as health.

The text also foresees that the Member States offer people from dark red areas and who must travel, the possibility of undergoing a test beforehand, and the obligation to quarantine upon arrival. The test in the destination area will only be possible for citizens of a country returning from abroad and who have not been able to take a previous test.

“The rules may vary, but the main recommendation in these areas is not to travel,” said the European Commissioner for the Interior, Ylva Johansson, during the press conference after the approval of the project.

Brussels justifies the rigor of the new rules in the greater degree of contagion caused by the new strains. The data managed by the Commission shows that the variants that have emerged in recent weeks are between 50% and 70% more contagious. The community body recognizes that the deployment of the vaccines, underway since the end of December, will not be enough for the moment to contain this spread, especially after the result in the production announced by both BionTech / Pfizer and that of Oxford / AstraZeneca.

Information about the coronavirus

– Here you can follow the last hour on the evolution of the pandemic

– Restrictions search engine: What can I do in my municipality?

– This is how the coronavirus curve evolves in the world

– Download the tracking application for Spain

– Guide to action against the disease