The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, has stated that There is already community transmission in Barcelona and its metropolitan area, although the situation cannot be classified as a new wave of the COVID-19.
“In Barcelona there is community transmission, it is so, we have to say it”, Stated the head of Health in an interview in Catalunya Ràdio.
Illa, who has ensured that the coordination and dialogue with the Govern is “fluid”, has asked the citizens of the Catalan capital to follow the recommendation of the regional executive not to leave home except for what is essential.
More than four million people in Catalonia’s capital Barcelona were advised to stay at home on Friday except for necessary trips from this weekend onwards, after Alba Vergés, the Catalan health minister, said the measure was the best way to avoid a new lockdown.
Cinemas, theatres and nightclubs were closed and gatherings of more than 10 people were also prohibited.
The new restrictions came barely four weeks after Spain ended its state of emergency when its 47 million residents were subjected to one of the world’s toughest lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus.
France is watching coronavirus clusters in neighbouring Spain very closely, prime minister Jean Castex said on Saturday, less than a month after the border between the two countries was reopened.
Spanish health officials are monitoring more than 150 outbreaks across the country just weeks after they ended one of the world’s toughest lockdown regimes.
They are particularly alarmed at clusters popping up in Catalonia, one of the border regions.
“We are monitoring this very closely, here in particular, because it is a real issue that we also need to discuss with the Spanish authorities,” Castex said in response to a question about the possible closure of borders, according to AFP.
The frontier was reopened on 21 June after three months of strict confinement on the Spanish side to contain the pandemic.
But the upsurge in cases in Catalonia has already prompted the reimposition of lockdown in one area.
Some 160,000 people in Lleida and surrounding towns were ordered to stay in their homes on Wednesday, following a standoff between the regional government and a local court that had blocked the order.
Many Spanish regions have made it mandatory to wear face masks in public, even if people maintain social distancing.
Spain has suffered more than 28,400 deaths from the pandemic, one of the highest rates in the world.