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'Phase change' requests: What each region wants and why
21 May 2020 @ 21:31

SEVERAL regions in Spain have applied to move forward to the next stage of 'recovery', at least in part, with the majority seeking to shift to 'Phase 2', allowing bars and restaurants to open their insides subject to being a maximum of 50% full, among other new freedoms.

It will not be known until the weekend, or just before, which applications have been accepted and on what basis.

Andalucía, the southern strip of the mainland, has been on 'Phase 1' since Monday, May 11, except the provinces of Málaga and Granada, which were on 'Phase 0' until Monday, May 18 – now, the regional government wants all eight of its provinces on 'Phase 2' from Monday, May 25, and for movement between these to be reinstated, given that many of its built-up coastal areas flow into each other and cross provincial borders.

It is not willing to have a 'two-speed unlocking', with some provinces on 'Phase 1' and others on 'Phase 2', but the central government has already said each phase should be a minimum of two weeks, meaning the only way for most of Andalucía to get its wish would be if Granada and Málaga were left behind for another week – something the regional Parliament is not likely to accept.

In the Balearic Islands, Formentera is already a stage ahead of the rest of the country and has been on 'Phase 2' for nearly a week, and the regional government wants the rest of its territory to follow suit – Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca – and for residents to be able to travel between islands.

The Canary Islands is in the same situation: El Hierro, La Graciosa and La Gomera have been on 'Phase 2' since Monday, and its government wants the other islands – Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura – to join them.

Murcia hopes to move to 'Phase 2', but with 'some restrictions', which regional president Fernando López Miras has not detailed, although he wants the town of Totana to remain on 'Phase 1' in light of five farm workers testing positive for Covid-19 last week.

On the east coast, the Comunidad Valenciana has not requested a move to 'Phase 2'; by Monday, 10 of its 24 area health departments will have been on 'Phase 1' for two weeks, with the other 14 only having graduated from 'Phase 0' four days ago.

Regional health minister Ana Barceló wants to wait until Monday, June 1 before stepping up recovery, as a matter of 'prudence', even though 'the figures are good'.

The Valencia region 'is doing well in epidemiological terms', although a small number of newly-diagnosed cases – around six – means Sra Barceló wants to play it safe.

Regional president of Aragón, Javier Lambán, wants this to move to 'Phase 2', given its very rural, spread-out nature, although the transition may be held up by Zaragoza, Spain's fourth-largest city, being right in the middle.

“If they say that Zaragoza, being a big city, needs to hold back and the rest of the region, or just the provinces of Huesca and Teruel but not that of Zaragoza, can move forward, then we'll agree to a two-speed progress,” says Lambán.

“Zaragoza fully understands this.”

According to regional newspaper, El Heraldo de Aragón, out of the 46 hospital catchment areas with more than 1,000 actual or suspected cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants, 25 of these are in Zaragoza city.

Asturias, on the north coast, a single-province region like Murcia, wants to move to 'Phase 2' and is calling for 'greater flexibility' on time slots by age for going out for walks and on the distance from home – currently one kilometre, or, in the case of runners and cyclists, within the same town even if this is more than a kilometre – as well as a change in criteria for numbers in bars and restaurants, based upon physical distance and health and safety measures in place rather than merely a 50% maximum.



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