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Catalonia closes nightclubs and imposes other curfews

Latest: Coronavirus in Spain figures (19 August)

The Catalan government has imposed new restrictions on nightlife in another bid to prevent a further spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Catalonia, following the recent surge of new infections.

On Friday evening, Civil Protection (Procicat) ruled that nightclubs, venue halls and events with shows are banned in all of Catalonia, as well as musical activities with dance floors.

The order comes into effect today, Saturday, and will remain in force for two weeks.

In addition to this, and in the areas where extra measures have already been put in place due to the latest outbreaks – the city of Barcelona and metropolitan areas, Segrià and Noguera in Lleida and the Figueres area – a curfew for restaurants, bars, terraces, beach bars, casinos and bingo halls has been set for midnight. The ruling will affect around 3 million residents.

The measures in these regions put in place last week, including a ban on gatherings of over 10 people, will continue in effect and are due to end in a week if they are not extended further.

Likewise, the lockdown in seven towns in the Segrià county is also still in place affecting the towns of Alcarràs, Aitona, la Granja d’Escarp, Seròs, Soses, Torres de Segre – and the city of Lleida itself.

Procicat also stated that it is the responsibility of local councils in affected municipalities and the Catalan government to be vigilant and make sure these measures are complied with – otherwise, sanctions will have to be enforced.

On Friday evening, Catalonia’s public health secretary Josep Maria Argimon said that these measures are not pending judicial approval as they do not affect any fundamental rights.

An image of Barcelona during the height of the lockdown in April 2020. (Edu Bayer)

France urges citizens not to travel to Catalonia

On Friday France issued a recommendation to its citizens not to travel to Catalonia due to ‘deteriorating sanitary indicators’.

The French Prime Minister Jean Castex spoke to the media on Friday whilst on a visit to Charles de Gaul airport. He recommended that French citizens should avoid travelling to Catalonia and that border police would be vigilant in protecting them from Covid-19.

‘We strongly urge French citizens to avoid travelling to that territory [Catalonia] until the health situation there improves,’ said Castex.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex speaking to the media during a visit to Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport on 24 July 2020. (Twitter / French Government @gouvernementFR)

Castex said that he had also asked Spain for the number of visitors travelling towards France to also be minimal.

With the health situation in Catalonia worsening, Castex said that French authorities were ‘in discussions’ with their Spanish counterparts to ‘make sure that the flow [of people] from Spain to France [also] remains as small as possible.’

He said that the French government would reinforce controls at the border with Spain in the hope of better containing the pandemic, with people arriving from some countries being subject to compulsory testing.

On Wednesday, Spanish tourism minister Reyes Maroto said that she hoped a closure of the border with France would not be necessary.

Coronavirus in Catalonia

Catalan health authorities have warned that a crucial week lies ahead regarding the progression of the latest Covid-19 outbreaks.

‘These are critical days,’ the Catalan health secretary Josep Maria Argimon said, ‘not because UCIs are full like in March, but because of how the illness is developing.’

‘The issue now is whether we as citizens take steps to slow this development until we get it under control. What we can’t do is have the curve shoot off,’ he said.

On Friday the regional health department in Catalonia released its data showing that a further 1,003 new cases of Coronavirus have been registered there in the past 24 hours.

Avenida Diagonal, Barcelona, normally one of the busiest thoroughfares through the city, photographed during the height of the lockdown in April 2020, with very few vehicles. (Edu Bayer)

On Thursday there had been 1,597 new cases of Coronavirus in Catalonia.

Wednesday had seen 353 new cases. Tuesday had been 287Monday 748 – Sunday 944 – and on Saturday the figure had been 1,226 new cases in 24 hours.

As reported last Sunday, in an attempt to curb the rising number of Covid-19 cases, the Catalan government adopted new measures in various areas of Catalonia – including the city of Barcelona itself.

The Catalan government has also called on people living in these areas to avoid leaving home unless necessary, and to not travel to any second homes. Click here for details: Coronavirus in Catalonia – update (19 July).

On Tuesday Barcelona City Council also announced that the permitted capacity on the city’s beaches would reduce by 15% with immediate effect.

Click here for all previous reports on: Coronavirus in Spain

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