The lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, has called an extraordinary meeting of the crisis table for the health emergency in Euskadi, called LABI. It is a body chaired by Urkullu himself, which seats the Health or Safety areas but also the general deputies, the municipalities and the delegate of the Government of Spain, Denis Itxaso. The bad data known this Friday and the growing trend of the pandemic -especially in Gipuzkoa- have persuaded the Basque Government to advance a few days the ordinary follow-up meeting that was on the agenda to analyze the data and, with high probability, adopt new restrictions.
The Basque Country decreed a health emergency on August 15 as a result of the wave of infections in the summer, when the epidemiological situation was calmer in other areas with the exception of Aragon and Catalonia. Days later, on August 19, additional restrictions for the hotel industry came into force – prohibition of bar consumption – or the recommendation –no obligation– to avoid meetings of more than 10 people. A guide with the announcements made on those dates can be consulted here.
The wave grew and reached a peak in late August and early September, with more cases detected than in March-April. It was explained by the greater detection capacity -up to 11,000 PCR daily-, since hospitalization did not reach critical spring levels. However, the downward trend did not undo all the rise and the new upturn – highly influenced by nearby situations such as Miranda de Ebro, Logroño and, above all, Navarra – reached the Basque Country with very high incidence rates, always above 200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days.
The sources consulted indicate that the LABI will have no other object on the agenda than to analyze the data and propose more restrictions regarding capacity and meetings. The Health spokesperson already asked this week to limit social events “to the maximum”, a common source of infections. The most common rule is to reduce the groups to 6 people. In places like Catalonia it has been decided to close the bars, although the Basque Country has always warned of the “economic coma” and to seek balance between the protection of health and the economy and social life. The meeting is at 12.00 and after it an informative appearance is scheduled. Significantly, the last time a weekend announcement was made was the health emergency, also on August 15.