Authorities in Catalonia, which is located in northeast Spain, have restricted the movement of more than 200,000 residents following a surge in COVID-19 infections. The new outbreak centres on Spaniards living in Segria and the populated city of Lleida, with residents not allowed to leave the area.
Segria is situated to the west of Catalonia and covers an area of more than 800 square miles.
Around 210,000 people live in 38 municipalities across the Segrià region.
Catalan regional president Quim Torra said the lockdown was effective from midday on Saturday following a “significant” rise in cases, but confirmed residents would be allowed to venture outside their homes.
Regional health ministry data showed there were 3,706 cases in the Lleida region on Friday.
The figure represented a rise of more than 150 cases in the past 24 hours, with 3,551 people testing positive for the virus on the previous day.
In a press briefing, President Torra said: “We have decided to confine Segria due to data that confirms too significant a growth in the number of COVID-19 infections.”
He added: “We take a step back to protect ourselves and we will take all the decisions to stop the contagion.”
The new strict guidelines told residents who had left the area to return by 4pm.
The local lockdown has also restricted gatherings to just 10 people.
Following the fresh outbreak, a field hospital was set up outside LLeida’s Arnau de Vilanova hospital on Friday and has a capacity to treat up to 105 patients.
Spain has been one of the worst hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic with more than 200,000 confirmed cases over 28,000 deaths.
To date the Spanish health ministry has registered 205,545 coronavirus cases and 28,385 deaths.
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The list features popular short-haul destinations such as Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus.
As well as long-haul locations including Australia, Barbados, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam.
Notable absentees include China – where the coronavirus was first reported to the World Health Organisation in December 2019 and the US – which has the highest number of coronavirus cases and fatalities in the world.