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Catalan leader calls on citizens to stay home despite judge’s ruling

BARCELONA — A Spanish judge barred Catalan authorities from confining about 160,000 people to their homes but the region’s leader urged people to stay home anyway to stem a surge in coronavirus cases.

Catalan leader Quim Torra said he would approve a new decree to make it compulsory.

Spain, which has been one of the European countries worst affected by the coronavirus, lifted a nationwide confinement last month, when the pandemic seemed to have come under control.

But with dozens of new clusters seen around the country, and in particular in the northeastern Catalan region, local authorities are taking new measures either to lock down small areas or make it mandatory to wear a mask everywhere in public.

People in the Lleida area have been banned from leaving it since July 4, except for specific reasons such as going to or from work.

But the judge ruled that the move by the regional authorities – who have mounted a sustained campaign for independence from Spain – to impose home confinement went too far and did not go through the right channels.

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