Spain

Four million people in Catalonia asked to ‘stay at home’ amid coronavirus surge

Catalonias regional government has asked millions of people to “stay at home” as the area experienced a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

Around four million people in the Barcelona metropolitan area have been requested to only leave home for essential reasons, with cinemas, theatres and nightclubs also closing.

Restaurants and bars are now limited to half capacity, a ban on visits to elderly peoples homes has been implemented, and people can only meet up in groups of up to ten.

Non-essential businesses will have to receive their customers by appointment.

In a statement to the press, spokeswoman for the Catalan regional government, Meritxell Budo, said: “We must go backwards so that we do not have to return to a total lockdown of the population in the coming weeks.”

“If the pandemic continues on this track, well have to take more drastic steps. The end of the state of alarm doesnt mean the pandemic is over. People must comply with all the measures in place and follow instructions issued by health authorities,” she added.

The measures concern the city of Barcelona and its surrounding areas, towns and cities and will initially be in place for two weeks.

Areas of Catalonia had already been subject to a second lockdown – 160,000 people in Lleida and neighbouring areas were re-confined on Wednesday following a legal stand-off between the regional government and the judiciary.

Catalonia already requires the use of face masks outdoors and in indoor public spaces.

Spain is one of Europes worst-affected countries, with more than 28,000 deaths from COVID-19 officially declared along with more than 250,000 cases.

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