Christmas restrictions could be introduced if COVID hospital numbers soar in Costa Blanca and Valencia areas of Spain

VALENCIA region president, Ximo Puig, has warned that COVID hospital rates will determine whether extra restrictions are brought in over the Christmas period.

The latest figures from last Friday showed 563 hospital admissions in the Valencian Community- half the total of a year ago when vaccines were not around and a vastly different picture compared to nearly 5,000 admissions in late January.

The region introduced COVID passport measures on December 4 to access some indoor hospitality and nightlife as well as hospital and care home visits to patients and residents.

Ximo Puig said: “We have to be cautious and if hospitalisations increase, measures will have to be taken, but at the moment we are not planning any.”

Puig appealed for mask wearing and good ventilation for Christmas parties and family gatherings.

Meanwhile over 826,000 COVID-19 booster vaccines have been administered in the Valencian Community.

It means so far that around a fifth of almost 4.2 million fully-inoculated residents have received a third jab.

Spain announced Pfizer booster shots in November which currently take in people aged over 60; health staff; and residents deemed to be at risk.

The third vaccination is also being given to people in younger age groups who had the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

402,193 boosters have been administered in Valencia Province; 308,715 in Alicante Province; and 115,602 in Castellon Province.

The booster shots have taken on an added importance in recent weeks with the appearance of the Omicron variant in Europe which is far more transmissible than other COVID variants.

No Omicron case has so far been officially reported in the Valencian Community.

The first Pfizer doses for children aged 11 and under will start being injected this Wednesday in the region.

The first group to be jabbed will be children aged 9 and 11.

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