Covid-19 in Spain: Catalan High Court rejects latest regional government requests for nighttime curfews | Society


The Catalan High Court on Monday rejected the regional government’s plans for a curfew in 43 municipalities, limiting the measure against the coronavirus to the 19 current areas where it is currently in place. With this latest setback for the authorities in the region, the four provincial capitals of Catalonia – Barcelona, ​​Girona, Lleida and Tarragona – have escaped a new closure of their nightlife spots.

The regional government wants to impose a curfew in Catalan municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants and where the cumulative incidence of the coronavirus is more than 125 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days. On Thursday, the High Court rejected the measure in areas of more than 5,000 inhabitants.

When filing this latest request on Friday, the regional authorities presented the same health data as on Tuesday, despite the fact that the epidemiological situation has since improved in most of the region, with Barcelona and eight municipalities below the limit set for the application of the night curfew.

In their decision, the judges underlined the fact that some of the communes with more than 20,000 inhabitants where the curfew had been requested did not exceed 125 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which means that “according to their own premises, the curfew would be even more unnecessary and disproportionate.

On Monday, 20 of the 62 municipalities where the curfew had been requested had an incidence of less than 125 cases.

The request filed by the regional authorities underlined the importance of closing nightlife venues in order to “limit” the social interactions that take place at night, which the court in turn decided to achieve by controlling the nightlife. ‘public order. “The control of social interactions is not a health criterion per se,” the court concluded, adding that the police should be deployed to avoid the formation of crowds. “So that social distancing and the wearing of masks are respected, the administration has measures that are just as effective and less damaging to fundamental rights and public freedoms,” added the judges.

Regional Prime Minister Pere Aragonès insisted his government needed “measures to protect the population” and responded to the court ruling by stating that the curfew is “not a matter of public order is a matter of health ”. Speaking during a visit to a hospital in Sant Joan Despí, he added: “We need instruments that will prevent further infections.” He also criticized the central government for not having introduced a specific law to give regions the power to introduce measures against coronaviruses without having to seek the blessing of the courts.

In the fall of last year, Madrid’s central government put in place a six-month state of alert that gave regions the powers they needed to limit basic rights such as freedom of movement in order to to fight coronavirus infections without having to seek the blessing of the courts. However, since the end of the state of alert at the beginning of the year, the judges must approve the measures requested by the regional administrations.

The judges supported Monday the curfew in the following municipalities of Catalonia: Alcarràs (Lleida), Amposta (Tarragona), Arenys de Munt (Barcelona), Badia del Vallès (Barcelona), Balaguer (Lleida), Banyoles (Girona), Calafell (Tarragona), Celrà (Girona), Cervelló (Barcelona), Gelida (Barcelona), Manlleu (Barcelona), Martorell (Barcelona), Montblanc (Tarragona), Móra d’Ebre (Tarragona), Palafolls (Barcelona), Salt ( Girona), Sant Feliu de Guíxols (Girona), Sarrià de Ter (Girona) and Torroella de Montgrí (Girona).

Excluded from the Barcelona list, as well as the main areas of the metropolitan area: Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Badalona, ​​Sant Adrià del Besòs, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, El Prat de Llobregat, Cornellà de Llobregat, Esplugues de Llobregat, Sant Andreu de la Barca and Sant Boi de Llobregat.

english version by Simon Hunter.

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