What is ‘Reinforced’ Level 2 for Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura?
The evolution of the epidemic in Tenerife and Gran Canaria has forced the Canary Islands Government to create new formulas to try to contain the virus, without moving them in to Level 3. Many people have been left confused as to why, but there are good reasons for it, primarily to avoid going in to Level 3 and prevent many businesses having to close, and to avoid the perimeter closure of these islands for Easter.
Gran Canaria and Tenerife are joined by Fuerteventura will all be obliged to advance the curfew to 10:00pm and reduce their groups to a maximum of 4 from next Monday. Lanzarote, who were moved to Level 2 yesterday, will not be affected by this change as they now have much more favourable epidemiological data after almost 3 months in strict conditions.
This reinforced Level 2 will also affect capacity, which will be similar to Level 3, that is, 50% outdoors and 33% indoors. However, the Minister of Health, Blas Trujillo, pointed out that this new level will not force the islands to close the interior of the hospitality industry or gyms, and that it will not affect regional or island federated sports practice, which at Level 3 would be suspended.
"The three islands are at Level 2 but they are moving in the wrong direction,” said Trujillo, who explained that Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura exceed a cumulative incidence (IA7) of 60 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. This reinforced level will come into force on Monday 15th March, a year to the day that the country went into lockdown, and will be in force for a minimum of 15 days that will be reviewed weekly by the Governing Council, although with the proposed Easter regulations, it means there are now tougher restrictions in place until April 9th.
"We cannot settle for stabilization," said the Government spokesman, Julio Pérez, who said that these measures are being taken to "do whatever is necessary to avoid going back in to Level 3", given that, otherwise, they would have to close the Islands for Easter. "It is necessary to make an additional effort, to be more demanding; you have to comply with the rules to maintain any economic activity", said Pérez.
Next Thursday, the Governing Council will rule on the extraordinary measures that will be imposed during Semana Santa (Easter) throughout the Canary Islands. The Health Minister has already advanced that many of them will be similar to those that were adopted during the week of carnivals to avoid contagion, except that this time they will be imposed for two weeks.
Contagions growing in the Canaries:
Tenerife grew again in infections yesterday, and has surpassed Gran Canaria for the first time in almost three months in the sum of weekly cases. Tenerife has added 614 this week, which is almost 30% more than the previous one, whereas Gran Canaria has had an increase of 19% compared to the previous week. Lanzarote added 14 cases yesterday and maintains its weekly evolution unchanged, while Fuerteventura added 16, registering a slight decrease compared to the previous week.
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Even though the SCS has now reached inoculating 7,000 people a day, Blas Trujillo said that they will soon start with mass vaccination in big centres such as the Recinto Ferial in Tenerife and the Infecar in Gran Canaria, so that they can reach between 25,000 and 30,000 per day.
This will be starting in April with the increased supply of vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Astra Zeneca, plus the imminent arrival of the new ‘one dose’ Janssen vaccine after it was passed by the EMA yesterday afternoon. Trujillo said he is optimistic about reaching the goal of herd immunization in summer.