Spain puts 200,000 people in Catalonia back into lockdown after coronavirus spike

The lockdown is "indefinite" and tied to agricultural workers in the region.

Spain has put approximately 200,000 people back under lockdown, but not confined to their homes, following a spike in coronavirus cases in the country, according to reports.

The spike in cases was reported in the county of Segria, in Catalonia. Residents were given until 4 p.m. local time to enter the area, but authorities would not permit anyone to leave after midday Saturday.

Segria is home to around 209,000 people across 38 municipalities, the Independent reported. The lockdown of the county is currently indefinite.

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“It is essential to act in this way,” said Alba Verges, Catalonia’s minister of health.

Regional health ministry data showed an increase of more than 200 cases on Friday, with the cases linked to agricultural workers in the rural area, Sky News reported.

“We take a step back to protect ourselves and we will take all the decisions to stop the contagion," Verges said.

"We have decided to confine Segria due to data that confirms too significant a growth in the number of COVID-19 infections," Catalan Regional President Quim Torra said during a news briefing.

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Residents will be allowed to move to and from work but will need a certificate from their employer beginning Tuesday. Gatherings will be allowed but restricted to 10 people or less, both in private and public spaces.

Travel through the county via highways will be allowed as long as drivers do not come from or stop in the county.

Spain, at one point the hot-spot of Europe for the coronavirus pandemic, has largely managed to control the situation in its country. Lockdown restrictions started to ease in late May, and the government has since kept an eye on the data to guide its plans.

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If possible, officials want to avoid such specific lockdown measures like the ones endured during the peak of the infection.

Spain has confirmed around 251,000 total cases of the coronavirus and suffered more than 28,000 deaths.