Authorities ordered a new lockdown for 200,000 people in Lleida province of northeastern Spain on Saturday due to outbreaks of Covid-19 there, the first confinement order since the nation’s state of emergency was lifted on June 21.
“We’ve decided to implement perimeter controls around Segrià (county) in response to data that confirm significant growth in the number of Covid-19 cases,” Catalan regional president Quim Torra announced at a press conference.
The confinement started at midday Saturday and includes the provincial capital of Lleida. It will be enforced by 24 police checkpoints around the county’s perimeter, preventing movement in and out, except for work or to care for people with special needs, two Catalan government spokesmen told CNN.
The confinement order does not have a time limit, and will be in place while needed to combat the outbreak in the county, the two Catalan government spokesmen added.
For the past few weeks, medical personnel have been trying to control various coronavirus outbreaks in the county, involving seasonal farm workers at agricultural enterprises, and also at a senior care facility and a small hotel that cares for the homeless.
Spain has tallied more than 28,000 deaths and 250,000 cases from the pandemic, one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe. But nationwide confinement during 3.5 months slowed the pace of the virus, and the Spanish government lifted it on June 21, handing control back to Spain’s 17 regional governments.
Since then, officials have reported some 50 outbreaks of new cases nationwide, localized around businesses, care facilities, and even at parties. But none has reached the level of the Segrià county situation.
There, residents will be able to move around within the county for essential business, but social gatherings in public will be limited to 10 people, the Catalan government said.
Elsewhere, in southern Malaga, whose airport is a major entry point for tourists heading to Spain’s Costa del Sol beaches on the Mediterranean, medical authorities are investigating an outbreak with 105 confirmed cases of Covid-19, the Andalusia regional government said on its website.
In Granada, home to the Alhambra Palace cultural site, they are also investigating five other outbreaks, with a combined total of 29 confirmed cases mostly in the local region, the Andalusia government said.