Catalonia curbs movement of 200,000 people after new coronavirus outbreak

A woman walks past a field hospital outside Arnau de Vilanova hospital, after Catalonia's government imposed new restrictions in an effort to control a new outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lleida, Spain July 4, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

Spain’s north-eastern region of Catalonia enforced a new lockdown on more than 200,000 people on Saturday, after several new outbreaks of the coronavirus were detected.

Residents in Segria, which includes the city of Lleida, will not be able to leave the area from 12 noon (1000 GMT) on Saturday, but will not be confined to their homes as was the case in Spain’s original strict lockdown in March.

“We have decided to confine Segria due to data that confirm too significant a growth in the number of COVID-19 infections,” Catalan regional president Quim Torra told a news briefing.

Regional health ministry data showed there were 3,706 cases in the Lleida region on Friday, up from 3,551 the previous day.

Movement for work will be permitted, but from Tuesday workers entering or leaving the area will have to present a certificate from their employer.

Spain has registered 205,545 coronavirus cases and 28,385 deaths, making it one of the worst affected countries in Europe.

After imposing a strict lockdown on March 14, the government has been gradually easing restrictions in a multi-phase plan since early May.