CORONAVIRUS

Catalonia due to approve weekend confinement of municipalities

The regional government wants to limit movement between areas from 6am on Friday to the same time on Monday. The region’s borders will also be closed

A PCR testing site in Barcelona on Wednesday.
A PCR testing site in Barcelona on Wednesday.Enric Fontcuberta / EFE

The Catalan government will today approve a new package of measures aimed at flattening the curve of coronavirus infections in the region. The latest figures show 5,761 new cases reported today and put the 14-day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants at 654.

The restrictions will include a perimetral confinement of the entire region, with a plan for even stricter measures in each municipality over the weekend. The government is also planning to suspend all extra-curricular, cultural and sporting activities, and there will be some restrictions on non-essential businesses, which are yet to be clarified.

Between October 19 and 25, the Catalan government reported 30,407 new coronavirus cases in the region, more than double those reported two weeks ago

The regional government is due to announce these measures at a press conference today at 1.30pm, with experts analyzing how the restrictions will fit within the state of alarm that is being debated today in Spain’s lower house of parliament, the Congress of Deputies, and which sets out the restrictions that will be in place for a minimum of seven days.

According to sources from the Catalan executive, the perimetral confinement of each municipality during the weekend will come into force on Friday at 6am and remain in place until the same time on Monday. The state of alarm allows the Generalitat, as the regional administration is known, to take these steps without seeking the approval of the courts. There will be a series of exceptions for mobility, but the government is seeking to control social interaction as much as possible to bring down the epidemiological curve. Between October 19 and 25, the last week for which there are figures, the Generalitat reported 30,407 new coronavirus infections in the region, more than double those reported two weeks ago.

Following the lead of Navarre, La Rioja and Aragón, Catalonia will also close its external borders, a measure that will be in place for 15 days. After this period, the effects will be evaluated and a decision taken on a possible extension or even ramping up of the restrictions. The government believes that the recent closure of restaurants and bars across Catalonia has slightly brought down the spread of the virus but not enough, hence this new package of measures.

People in the region will still be able to go to work and schools will remain open, but there will be a recommendation in both cases for activities to be carried out while maintaining safe distances. There is a possibility that older high school students will have to switch to remote classes, as is already the case for universities.

Businesses selling essential products will not be closing, but other activities in the fields of sport, culture and extra-curricular activities are likely to be put on hold for at least 15 days. Home delivery of food will be permitted until 11pm.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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