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Catalonia return to lock down after a surge in cases

Image Credit: Reuters/Nacho Doce

Around 160,000 people in the region of Catalonia started lock down again on Wednesday, after a surge in coronavirus cases prompted the authorities to take swift action. People can only leave their homes for the essentials, like buying supplies and working. All hotels, bars and restaurants will be closed down but food pickups and delivery will still be possible.

The order was approved by a judge on Tuesday night, for the city of Lleida and six nearby towns, after several days of political tension over the lockdown. Authorities have also urged the people of 3 neighborhoods in L’Hospitalet in Barcelona to stay at home. There are around 300 cases in L’Hospitalet. It is not a compulsory lockdown, and a judge refused to pass a law to ban gatherings of more than 10 people.

The Generalitat’s minister of the presidency, Meritxell Budo, said, ‘The virus is still there, it is still present among us, and all necessary measures must be taken if the numbers indicate it.’

Catalonia is very tourism dependent, and the region is considered to be the worst hit in Spain, after Madrid. On Tuesday, Spain reported 745 new cases. Health minister Salvador Illa said that around 63% of the infected were asymptomatic.

A number of regions passed a law to make mask use compulsory at all times, regardless of whether social distance can be followed or not.

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