Catalonia imposes regional lockdown on 200,000 people following surge in Covid-19 cases

SPAIN’S CATALONIA region today locked down an area with around 200,000 residents following a surge in cases of the new coronavirus.

Catalonia’s regional president Quim Torra told reporters there had been a “sharp rise” in infections in Segria, a zone that includes the town of Lerida some 150 kilometres west of Barcelona.

Nobody would be allowed to enter or leave the area, gatherings of more than 10 people would be banned and visits to retirement homes halted, officials said.

The move came as the summer holiday started in Spain and the country began re-admitting visitors from 12 countries outside the European Union, two weeks after allowing people from the EU’s visa-free Schengen zone and Britain to return.

Spain has been one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic with 28,385 deaths, Europe’s fourth-highest toll after the United Kingdom, Italy and France.

It imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus and only recently began to open up.

minute-of-silence-for-coronavirus-victims-in-barcelona-spain-27-may-2020 President of the Catalonia region, Quim Torra, in May. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Barcelona celebrated another milestone in its bid to reopen today, with visitors allowed back into the popular tourist attraction, the Sagrada Familia basillica. 

In the first phase of its reopening, health workers were the first to be allowed back as a tribute to their work battling the pandemic.

Yesterday, Spain registered 17 virus deaths within 24 hours, its highest daily toll since 19 June. 

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The total number of cases now stands at 250,545 in a country of 47 million people.

Lerida province, which includes the Segria area, has so far recorded just over 4,000 cases – 60 new infections were reported on Friday.

- © AFP 2020

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