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Spain’s Catalonia seeks to bypass ruling striking down home confinement

LLEIDA — Spain’s Catalonia approved on Monday a decree giving it legal backing to place restrictions on the city of Lleida and its surroundings to stem a surge in coronavirus infections, defying a judge’s earlier ruling that such an order was unlawful.

After an extraordinary late night cabinet meeting, the regional government said it would seek legal authorisation allowing it to limit people’s movements, adding that on Tuesday it could confine Lleida area inhabitants at home.

Earlier on Monday, Catalonia leader Quim Torra urged the 160,000 people living in an area where coronavirus cases have increased to stay home, defying a court ruling which rejected a mandatory home confinement.

The contradicting orders sowed confusion and anger in the area. Businesses feared for their survival and the mayor said he was at a loss about what to tell people.

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

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