ANALYSIS: Is Spain really planning to close hotels as cases rise in the run up to Christmas?

REPORTS from the UK are causing mass panic that Spain’s hotels could close over the festive period in a bid to halt rising COVID-19 numbers

According to press reports from the Express and Daily Record,Spain’s Public Health Commission will debate whether to close hotels ahead of Christmas as infections surge in most of Europe has caused mass manic among winter holidaymakers.

Spain is a popular destination for winter holidaymakers hoping to catch some sun over the festive period but how likely is it that Christmas plans will be disrupted and hotels will close? We take a look below.

What is happening in Europe?

While the Spain currently has one of the lowest infection rates, with the latest data from the Health Ministry showing 139 cases per 100,000 people as the national average, spikes in coronavirus infections and hospital admissions on the continent in recent weeks could prompt a change in policy. 

Daily COVID-19 caseloads in Europe have increased by almost twice the global average. 

The announcement followed a warning on Tuesday from the WHO that Europe could see more than two million coronavirus fatalities by next March. 

What is being reported?

National papers in the UK claimed that in order to curb the predicted surge in infections over the Christmas period, Spain’s Public Health Commission will debate whether to close the interior of hotel businesses in regions with high COVID rates and hospital pressure. 

They allege that if cases reach the extreme level of 500 per 100,000 inhabitants, the new plans would close hotels.

How likely is this?

Unlikely. There are no reports from Spain’sPublic Health Commission that they are looking into this.

The body includes representatives of the country’s 17 regions and the Ministry of Health, but its recommendations are not mandatory.

Even if they did make the proposal, all plans would go to the Interterritorial Council for further discussion and decisions are ultimately down to regional governments and approval by their Supreme Courts.

In short, we’re a long way off from closing hotels if the discussions are not yet even on the table.

How easy is it to travel to Spain?

If you wish to travel to Spain, and you are aged 12 or over, you need to either:

  • A negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of travelling
  • Proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days before you travel
  • Before travelling to Spain you also need to have completed a health control form, no more than 48 hours before travelling.

What is Spain’s current infection rate?

The Murcia region said on Monday that 85% of its rising infection rate was down to ‘family and social gatherings’, with young children accounting for the vast bulk of new cases.

The region of Navarra currently has the highest rate at 399 cases per 100,000 people according to data published on November 23 with the Basque Country close behind at 307.

The Valencia region is close to the national average at 137 and the Balearics are at 188, just behind Catalunya at 189, while Andalucia’s rate is at the lower end of the scale at 72 cases per 100,000 people.

Madrid’s infection rate is 104 cases per 100,000 people. 

Regional infection rates with number of cases per 100,000 people shown in blue.

However, despite the rising cases, coronavirus hospitalisations represent just 2.33 percent of total patients, and just 5% of those occupying beds in intensive care units across Spain, a far cry from early waves when hospitals were quickly overwhelmed.

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