Four million people in Catalonia asked to “stay at home” amid the coronavirus outbreak


The regional government of Catalonia has asked millions of people to “stay at home” while the region is experiencing a resurgence of cases of coronavirus.Around four million people in the Barcelona metropolitan area have been told to leave their homes only for essential reasons, with cinemas, theaters and nightclubs also closing.

Restaurants and bars are now limited to half their capacity, a ban on visiting retirement homes has been put in place and people can only meet in groups of up to ten.

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

In a press release, Catalan regional government spokesperson Meritxell Budo said: “We must step back so that we do not have to return to a total population lockdown in the weeks to come”.

“If the pandemic continues on this path, we will have to take more drastic measures. The end of the state of alarm does not mean that 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 surroundings, towns and cities and will initially be in place for two weeks.

Parts of Catalonia have already been the subject of a second lockdown – 160,000 people in Lleida and neighboring regions were confined on Wednesday following a legal standoff between the regional government and the judiciary.

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

Barcelona police on Saturday closed much of the city’s beaches after too many sunbathers ignored authorities’ demand to stay at home.

People were prevented from entering and the police told those already on the beach to disperse because they were standing too close to each other and were likely to increase the contagion.

Spain is one of the worst affected countries in Europe, with more than 28,000 officially reported COVID-19 deaths as well as more than 250,000 cases.


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