VALENCIA city council has cancelled the traditional 5 January Kings’ parade following advice from the health department given the “exponential growth” in cases of coronavirus.
The council is now considering a possible Plan B for a static celebration of the three kings inside the city’s bull ring with covid restrictions.
As reported by Cadena Ser radio, city councillor for culture and festivities Carlos Galiana, explained that the health department had sent instructions to all towns and cities across the region today (Wednesday) saying that there exists “a sustained increase in the incidence rate” with “the number of daily cases currently higher than previous waves this year.” The health department communication went on, “community transmission has grown significantly during the past three weeks, with a new epidemic wave with exponential growth”, they confirmed that “the risk associated with the spread of the Omicron variant is very high” and that the epidemiological studies carried out place “events that lead to large crowds gathering or concentrations of people, especially if it’s difficult to maintain social distancing” among “activities of highest risk”.
Galiana explained that “given this situation and the recommendations for each municipality to evaluate the incidence and set up routes to guarantee large crowds not gathering, as this is totally unviable for a Kings Parade in a city like Valencia, we have decided to cancel the model we initially planned, in spite of already reducing the duration of the procession and avoiding people being seated along the route for hours.”
He said that the city council is now looking at different options, one of which is a static celebration in the bull ring with limited capacity and covid safety measures, following the protocols currently in place for events such as sports matches and other cultural gatherings like circuses and cinemas.
Four out of every five municipalities have positive cases
Yesterday (Tuesday) it was reported by news agency Europa Press, that 430 of the region’s 542 towns and cities currently had positive cases of coronavirus. The highest being Valencia with 8,614 active cases, followed by Alicante with 2,864, Elche was third with 1,762 and Castellón fourth with 1,513.
Meanwhile, according to health ministry figures reported by Valencia Plaza on Monday, infections of the Omicron variant have shot up from just 3% to 23% in one week. The figures were from samples taken during the week of 13 to 19 December, meaning that the current situation is likely to be much higher.
New Year’s Eve without new restrictions
So far, no tighter restrictions have been brought in for New Year’s Eve in the Valencia region despite eight other regional governments deciding to bring in curfews and early closing of bars and restaurants.
In Valencia restrictions continue to be the use of the Covid Passport in restaurants and leisure venues regardless of capacity, and for events and celebrations with more than 500 people, as well as visiting hospitals, residences, gyms, cinemas sports facilities, and other places where food and drink are consumed.
Valencia President Ximo Puig, has previously said that the regional government wouldn’t be bringing in any new restrictions before New Year, and that if there were to be changes they would be as a result of the interterritorial meeting of the regional governments.
However, with the fast-evolving nature of the Omicron variant this too could change. Stay safe.