Spanish authorities order lockdown in northeast county of Lleida due to rise in coronavirus cases

Spanish authorities ordered a lockdown of a county in the northeast after a concerning rise in coronavirus cases.

From noon on Saturday, more than 200,000 people in El Segriá, located in Catalonia and surrounding the city of Lleida, were locked down.

People who do not reside in the county may leave before 16:00 CET but afterwards exit and entry will be restricted to essential workers, Catalonia’s civil protection authorities said in a statement.

“Other measures to restrict activities and mobility may be established within the Segrià region,” Spanish authorities said.

There are nearly 4,000 cases in the city of Lleida, which has a population of under 150,000. Health officials in Catalonia said the data showed “a higher incidence” in the county compared to the rest of Spain, with new hospitalisations over the past week.

Residents are recommended to stay where they live and to only travel for essential purposes.

The region of Catalonia has had the highest number of new cases in Spain over the past two weeks with nearly 1,400 confirmed cases. Lleida is located just 160 kilometres west of Barcelona.

Several European countries have recently reopened after issuing strict lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Spain had issued a strict lockdown for three months from March and has suffered from one of the largest outbreaks in Europe, with more than 250,000 cases and 28,000 deaths.

As European countries reopen, authorities are still working to combat the virus by testing and tracing contacts of positive cases. Authorities plan to issue local lockdowns in the event that coronavirus cases increase in a certain geographic area.