Covid passports became mandatory for access to hospitality and nightlife throughout Andalucía on December 20. The measure introduced by the Junta de Andalucía will remain in place until January 15.
The Superior Court of Justice of Andalucía (TSJA) based in Granada agreed to the Junta’s request to introduce the temporary requirement because, it said, it met the requirements of proportionality, necessity and suitability. The decision was taken after a previous request was denied two days earlier because its wording meant that workers would also have to produce the passport.
As the measure was introduced, the incidence in Covid infections in Málaga was showing a sharp rise, at 312,4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, although there were seven times fewer Covid sufferers in local hospitals. The news in the week immediately before Christmas lead to reports of cancelled bookings at restaurants across the region.
On December 17, Málaga became one of five provinces in Andalucía where the Covid alert was raise to Level 1, but without setting limits on capacity or opening hours in shops, hospitality, nightlife and other activities. Mandatory mask-wearing at open-air events, plus other requirements for businesses, also remain in effect until January 15.
Earlier last month, the Health Authority in Andalucía reported that 68 medical staff at Málaga’s University Regional Hospital had tested positive for Covid. By December 10, the total infected has risen to 96, although none needed to be admitted hospital. Further outbreaks were confirmed in the Hospital’s Neurosurgerys Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine departments in mid-December.
It is thought the contagion could have started during nursing exams in late November or at a “social” event on December 1 attended by 173 people. The Authority said all who were infected had displayed mild symptoms and all had had antigen tests or the third, booster shot. Staff at other public and private hospitals in the region were then advised not to attend Christmas parties.
By the middle of December, Andalucía was registering 3,110 new cases of the virus in 48 hours, the highest figure for four months. The province of Sevilla recorded the most cases, followed by Málaga, Cádiz and Granada. Eighty per cent of those over 70 had received their third Covid-19 vaccination by then, as had 46 per cent of those aged over 60.
The Junta called on people to act “responsibly” over the festive period but ruled out suspending meals and dinners, provided that basic measures are observed, including limiting capacity, holding functions in open spaces and keeping a safe social distance.