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Supreme Court rejects Canary Islands appeal to impose curfews on Tenerife and other islands at Alert Level 4

Supreme Court rejects Canary Islands appeal to impose curfews on Tenerife and other islands at Alert Level 4

The Spanish Supreme Court has rejected the Government of the Canary Islands appeal against the high court decision, from the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands (TSJC), on curfews in the face of advancing COVID-19 infections on the Islands.

The General Council of the Judiciary published this Tuesday, July 27, a note in which it reports the decision of the highest court in the land:

“The Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the Government of the Canary Islands against the Canarian Superior Court of Justice order of July 14 that agreed not to authorise ‘curfew’ between 00.30 and 06:00 on the island of Tenerife, or alternatively, municipalities of said island with a COVID incidence rate of more than 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The proposal to limit the freedom of movement of people on said island was adopted by the Canarian Government in session of July 8.”

The supreme court considers that the order of the Canary Islands High Court has concluded reasonably that the proposed limitation of freedom of movement lacks justification in view of the concurrent circumstances on the island of Tenerife, and that said restrictive measure was not proportional.

The Supreme Court refers to its recent ruling in which it endorsed confinement in the municipality of Peal de Becerro (Jaén), and highlights that in that case the incidence rate was more than ten times higher than that raised now, and also highlighted the distinct presence of asymptomatic patients and the percentage of those vaccinated, among other reasons that made measures other than the one adopted ineffective.

However, in the first place, the Supreme Court indicates that in that town of Jaén it was a perimeter closure and not a ‘curfew’, “which requires greater justification on the basis that the measures are essential to safeguard public health”. In addition, they said, within the claim of the Canary Government ‘little clarity’ had been provided “when the main request was authorisation for ‘curfew’ throughout the island of Tenerife, despite the fact that the figures provided, regarding the different municipalities identified, are not homogeneous”.

Likewise, the court rejects that there is a contradiction between the pronouncement of the Canarian Court and that made by the higher courts of Valencia, Catalonia and Cantabria, since the Canarian Government has not proven that the circumstances of Tenerife coincide with those examined by those other courts.

In this regard, the judgement points out that those other regional administrations “based their claim, to ratify the measures, with the support of data on the high incidence of the number of infected and their pressure on the health system, which the Canary Islands [failed to do] in this case”.

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