Latest COVID news headlines...
Andorra tows the line, no skiing until at least 7th January after 3 kings. Pressure jhad been on for Andorra to cancel the high season and tow the lines of the neighbouring countries and has done so. A huge blow for the industries. The chairlifts will not even be made available for locals, but some sports without the chairlifts may be possible.
Catalunya delays passing to phase 2 ....(Originally scheduled for Dec 7th) on the grounds that the infection RHO/RH/Rt rate has risen above 0,9. This means that everything is pushed backed 2 weeks. What does that really mean? The Spanish will have no access to Andorra other than essential travel or Christmas restricted family reunions until at least 6th January 2021.
France, whose ski resorts will stay closed until 20th January, together with the new decree from Madrid that Christmas travel for tourism and leisure will be prohibited between 23rd December and 6th January put pressure on Andorra to close the ski slopes until at least 6th January at the earliest. Ski Wars Part I The EU strikes back...
Andorra also has made official the requirements for tourists who will stay in Andorra for more than 3 nights to have a negative PCR or TMA test within the last 72 hours before their arrival. And just so there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever in any persons mind at all, the clear exceptions to this rule are:-
- French, Spanish and Portguese tourists,
- Children under 6,
- People coming from green coded countries, and/or
- Tourists arriving from countries where the screening ratio exceeds 5,000 tests per 100,000 inhabitants, and the positivity of these is less than 9%.
For arrivals by air and sea into Spain (and for essential reasons, no tourism) now require a negative COVID test taken in the last 72 hours. This requirement does not include arrivals from the land border of Andorra. It is unclear whether as a resident returning via Barcelona to Andorra you need a test result to transit Spain. Any feedback most welcome on this......
The French de-escalation phases are here...
Catalan borders will remain closed to all but essential travel until 7th January earliest. that is if the RH and hospital numbers are in the parameters to allow the Catalan Government to move to the beginning of the next phase. This all important RH number (known also as Rt, RHO) and hospitalisations can be found here.
France is in national lockdown until at least 15/12/2020.. Borders closed other than essential travel. France has 3 phases, with confinement up to 15 December as a minimum, and the figures to pass to the next phase are not looking optimistic.
Catalunya border with Andorra now closed to at least until 06/01/2021 also except essential travel. Spain has 3 phases also, see here Please also note the additional decree from Madrid that perimetral confinement will be in place from 23rd December to 6th January additionally.
Borders with Andorra are essentally are closed, BUT Andorra has lifted all quarantine requirements regardless of where you are coming from. The Government deems that the distancing, hygiene and local restrictions are adequate and quarantine is not a requirement. Please also see the very clear requirements for stays of 4 nights or more here, a little pointless perhaps as tourists now will not be coming up over Christmas.
The problem for those travelling from outside the EU remains whether you will be allowed into the EU so please refer to the interactive map below.
What consitutes essential travel? The list below must be accompanied by the relevant form for France or Spain together with justification of the reason:-
- For medical reasons
- For employment, legal or educational commitments
- Returning to your place of residence (Example Andorra) or transit to your country of origin
- To look after a vulnerable person
- For affairs relating to public , judiclal or Notarial bodies
- For official administration that cannot be delayed
- For official exams that cannot be delayed
- To go to financial and insurance institutions in neighboring territories
Only emergency surgery now available in Andorra following an outbreak of COVID in the hospital affecting patients and staff alike.
The elevated risk of death from flu and COVID has lead to a rush for flu vaccines, so much so that the major suppliers for Andorra in France and Spain have had to divert stocks to their own medical establishments causing a shortage here. Does not bode well for when or if the COVID vaccine ever becomes available?
Access to and from France and Andorra
Until 21/12/2020 entry movements are restricted to essential reasons as above and you must complete the justification obligatorially for travel from Andorra into France or for travel anywhere in France during those hours, complete, print, sign and have with you on your travels. You must also carry proof of the justification that you have given.
These forms cannot be completed online due to the post code in Andorra not being accepted
Access to and from Spain and Andorra
Until 07/12/2020 entry movements are restricted to essential reasons as above you must complete a similar form as for France before you travel into Spain or if you are travelling in Spain in these hour, it is "advisable" to carry with you the form completed and signed before you travel. You must also carry proof of the justification that you have given.
These forms cannot be completed online due to the post code in Andorra not being accepted
Daily Figures for Andorra
The figures will continue to be updated as below as the virus continues to affect Andorra.
Latest Figures for Andorra - 04/12/2020
With no new cases since June 18th Andorra was...... sadly though as from 13/07/2020 this is no longer the case....
Total cases recorded in Andorra - 6,904 (+62) (since yesterday)
Total cases recovered - 5,712 (+77)
Total active cases - 762 (-14)
Total deaths recorded - 77 (+1)
Total patients in hospital in the COVID ward- 16 (-5) of which 4 (-1) are in intensive care and 3 (+1) on a ventilator but are in the final stages of coming off the machines.
With world wide figures hitting a new daily high at over six hundred thousand new cases, please see link for global figures below.....
- Andorra has been included in the EU acquisition of mass vaccines to be purchased from the front runner Oxford University. The EU will set aside enough vaccines initially for 30% of the population here. The race is on to have mass production of a safe and effective vaccine by the end of the year, although mid 2021 is more likely as further vaccine test results are awaited.
- Voluntary, free TMA active antigen tests are now available to anyone by prior appointment without the need for a GP prescription. This is available to anyone with or without symptoms. The number to call is 821955 and they can do 600 tests per day from 0800 to 2000. They will only notify you if it is a positive result, if you require a certificate that you are negative (for travel or for work for example) then you need to get that after the test from your registered GP. This is for residents only, non residents should apply to the private laboratory PASTEUR, advanced bookings are mandatory.
Since global statistics are going ballistic in some parts of the world with a resurgence in those countries who announced they had beaten the virus, best to keep an eye on things ...
Winter worries and why the authorities are fearing for the worst...
If we were not testing any people for COVID would it have been considered to have died out in the summer given the vast majority of positives are asymptomatic or barely have any symptoms?
Hospitals are no where near panic mode, so why are the authorities so concerned?
What if we were to test 500,000 people for the flu virus would we find a significant infection rate from a virus that is considered to be defeated every summer by warmer temperatures ? What about the cousin of COVID the good old common cold? It barely appears in the summer, maybe we are just asymptomatic with these viruses, a sneeze put down to an allergy or an extended hangover perhaps.
So why for countries in the southern hemisphere, now in winter, are the heath services not completely overwhelmed? The answer may be that the southern hemisphere does not have the nothern hemisphere land masses, in general temperatures are temperate and they do not replicate the severity of northern winters with the cold, damp and dark environments where the virus thrives.
Research has now confirmed that although hot and cold temperatures may not affect the severity of the virus itself, they have remarked that for every degree rise in average temperature means a drop in the death rate of 15%. They believe it is in humans where the production of mucus, the very thing that the virus attacks to get into the respiratory system, slows in warmer weather. As the temperature drops various changes take part in the mucus production that may result in the virus getting into the system with more severity. It is clear that with the current resurgence the virus is as active as ever but with a noticeably reduced severity of symptoms for those infected. The same is true for hot countries, the infection rate is high, but death/severity rate is considerably below the initial first wave that hit Europe towards the end of the winter.
This seems to follow the rationale why the flu and common cold is presumed to die out in warmer temperatures as above, but we don't test for these so are they out there with us waiting for the winter? It was suggested back in March that by the summer the COVID would have died out and without the current testing of populations may be that analysis was right?
If this is the case and the virus increases in severity as temperatures drop then instead of the virus starting from a base of 1 person as what happened last winter when it reached Europe and caused so many deaths, it may well be starting next winter from an active base of 3-4 million infected in Europe alone!!!
Let us pray that this theory is wrong but just maybe this last lockdown was just a rehearsal???
Historical events of the pandemic and how it all unfolded:-
Andorra was hit hard initially, responded impeccably, underwent unique population screening but has been squeezed between two countries whose routes out of the lockdown were never synced.