Coronavirus restrictions reimposed on Barcelona amid surge in cases

Barcelona, Spain, Jul 17 (efe-epa).- Catalonian authorities on Friday said they would reimpose restrictions on social activities in the Barcelona metropolitan area, the second-largest city in Spain, following a surge in coronavirus cases.

Spain’s state of alarm, the mechanism underpinning the nationwide three-month lockdown, ended on 21 June, at which point the powers to revive restrictions were handed over from the national government to provincial authorities.

In the last 24 hours, regional health authorities detected 1,293 new Covid-19 cases in Catalonia, 884 of which were detected in Barcelona’s metropolitan area, one of Spain’s hardest hit regions during the height of the pandemic.

The restrictions, which the Catalan regional governments are looking to enforce for an initial period of 15 days, will limit social gatherings to 10 people and reduce restaurant and bar capacity to 50 percent. Night clubs will also be ordered to close.

Authorities have asked people not leave their house apart for essential reasons and not to travel to second homes.

The restrictions will also apply to the city of Lleida. Measures were already put in place in the city of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, the second-largest in Catalonia, earlier this week.

Meritxell Budó, a spokesperson for the Catalan regional presidency, said it was the public’s “civil duty” to respect the rules and said the restrictions were the last resort to avoid “more drastic measures”.

Certain areas of the north-eastern Spanish region of Aragon, which neighbors Catalonia, have also implemented fresh restrictions to contain a recent outbreak of Covid-19.

The cities of Zaragoza and Huesca returned to a “flexible” version of the rules in place during phase two of Spain’s lockdown easing process as authorities said 272 new cases were detected Thursday.

Authorities in Aragon have also ordered the extermination of almost 92,000 mink on a fur farm after 87 percent of the animals tested positive for Covid-19.

It came after a number of workers contracted coronavirus.

Authorities said it was a preventive measure, adding that there was nothing to suggest the virus could be passed from animals to humans.

Spain has been one of Europe’s worst-affected countries by Covid-19, with over 250,000 infections and around 28,000 deaths.

The country has slowly reopened its economy since 21 June and is looking to salvage what remains of the summer tourist season. EFE-EPA


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