Coronavirus: Spain locks down county of 200,000 people over COVID-19 outbreaks

Authorities in northeastern Spain on Saturday ordered the lockdown of a county around the city of Lleida due to worrying outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus.

Catalan regional authorities announced that as of noon local time movement will be restricted to and from El Segria, around Lleida, which is home to over 200,000 people. Residents will have until 4 p.m. local to enter the area.

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This is the first restriction of free movement since the end of Spain’s state of emergency on June 21.

Regional health authorities said Friday that they had registered a jump in 60 cases in 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to over 4,000 in the county.

1:20Coronavirus outbreak: Spain to reopen to international tourists, Madrid locals welcome lockdown easing

Coronavirus outbreak: Spain to reopen to international tourists, Madrid locals welcome lockdown easing

The new outbreaks are linked to agricultural workers in the rural area.

Spain was completely locked down from March to June to get its coronavirus outbreak under control, before its national government ended a state of emergency. Over 28,000 people are confirmed to have died from the virus in Spain.

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In Barcelona the iconic La Sagrada Familia basilica has reopened its doors for visits exclusively for health workers after nearly four months of being closed due to the pandemic.

The basilica invited a first group of health workers on Saturday to visit the temple designed by architect Antoni Gaudí. More will be able to visit on Sunday and on July 11-12 during a reopening phase the church is calling an “homage” to doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.

That will be followed by a second phase just for residents of Barcelona. The church says it is still waiting to announce when visitors from outside the city will be permitted entry.

La Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s top tourist site, with 4.5 million visitors in 2019.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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