Catalonia locks down 200,000 over coronavirus outbreak

Police officers check the documents of the people at the entrance of Lleida after Catalonia government imposes new restrictions [Nacho Doce/Reuters]

Spain’s northeastern Catalonia area on Saturday locked down an space with about 200,000 residents following a surge in circumstances of the brand new coronavirus.

Catalonia’s regional president Quim Torra mentioned there had been a “sharp rise” in infections in Segria, a zone that features town of Lleida some 150 kilometres (90 miles) west of Barcelona.

“We’ve determined to restrict Segria attributable to information that verify too vital a progress within the variety of COVID-19 infections,” Torra instructed a information convention.

People wouldn’t be allowed to enter or depart the realm, gatherings of greater than 10 folks could be banned and visits to retirement houses halted, officers mentioned.

The restrictions don’t apply to seasonal harvest staff, and motion just isn’t restricted throughout the zone, nonetheless.

Regional well being ministry information confirmed there have been 3,706 circumstances within the Lleida area on Friday, up from 3,551 the day before today.

Catalonia is among the hardest-hit elements of Spain, with a complete of 72,860 coronavirus circumstances, based on regional well being ministry information launched on Friday.

The transfer got here because the summer time vacation began in Spain and the nation started re-admitting guests from 12 nations outdoors the European Union, two weeks after permitting folks from the EU’s visa-free Schengen zone and Britain to return.

“It is a shock,” mentioned Josep Raluy, a 63-year-old retiree who returned to the realm from a second residence as a precaution. “It’s one other step backwards, it isn’t good.”

Spain has been one of many nations worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic with not less than 28,385 deaths, Europe’s fourth-highest toll after Britain, Italy and France.

Madrid imposed one of many world’s strictest lockdowns to cease the unfold of the virus and solely lately started to open up.

Barcelona celebrated one other milestone in its bid to reopen on Saturday, with guests allowed again into the Sagrada Familia – an imposing modernist basilica that’s amongst Spain’s most visited buildings.

In the primary section of its reopening, well being staff have been the primary to be admitted as a tribute to their work battling the pandemic.

Matilde Fuentes, a 49-year-old physician, was notably touched.

“We went by means of very tough occasions, we tried to be there at any time when we have been wanted, and now that they thank us it offers me goosebumps.”

Speaking throughout a visit Saturday to Galicia within the nation’s northwest – the primary area to exit the lockdown final month – Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned: “Do not let your guard down, however don’t let your self be overcome by worry.”

“We should take to the streets, make the most of the brand new normality, revive the financial system,” the socialist chief mentioned, including that “the state is healthier ready to combat” towards the resurgence of the epidemic.

On Friday, Spain registered 17 virus deaths inside 24 hours, its highest each day toll since June 19. There have been greater than 50 reported outbreaks all through almost the entire nation’s areas.

The whole variety of circumstances now stands at 250,545 in a rustic of 47 million.

Coronavirus news updates