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Four-tier lockdown system to fight COVID-19 in Spain

BayRadio | October 16, 2020
Spain four-tier system

This story has been updated. Click here.

The Health Ministry wants to clarify the four different alert levels – including the numbers that define them – as well as recommending emergency measures.

The system will still leave lockdown powers devolved to regional governments.

Spanish daily EL PAÍS has seen a draft of the system – the four tiers are low, moderate, high and extreme.

Under the plans, five regions will already be classed as at ‘extreme risk’:

  • Aragón
  • Castilla y León
  • Madrid
  • La Rioja
  • Ceuta

Andalusia, Asturias, the Balearic and Canary archipelagos, the Valencian Community and Extremadura show moderate risk, while Cantabria and Galicia would be classified as low risk based on EL PAÍS‘ calculations.

No region is completely out of danger.


Current thresholds determine that municipalities recording 500+ cases per 100,000 inhabitants, more than 10% positive results from PCR testing and over 35% of ICU beds occupied set grounds for a localised lockdown.

Thresholds for ‘extreme risk’ in the new system will be:

  • 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a 14-day period (aka Accumulated Incidence).
  • 125 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a 7-day period.
  • 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a 14-day period (aka Accumulated Incidence) for over-65s.
  • 75 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a 7-day period for over-65s.
  • 15% positivity rate (percentage of tests that return positive results).
  • 90% of cases cannot be traced back to source of infection.
  • 20% of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients occupied.
  • 25% of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients occupied.

Meeting just three of the above criteria will class a region as at ‘extreme risk’.

Spain’s central government originally ignored setting specific health criteria, devolving powers to regional governments.

The battle between Madrid’s health authorities and the central government over the last few weeks, however, have shown the need for national oversight.

Written by BayRadio

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