Quim Torra, president of Catalonia, called upon citizens to act with ‘responsibility’ and ‘solidarity’ at a press conference on Monday morning, in order to avoid a more extreme lockdown in the fight against Coronavirus (Covid-19).
He insisted that it was time for a ‘great collective effort’ to avoid further restrictions having to be imposed.
Torra said that the situation was ‘very worrying’, and warned that the next 10 days were ‘critical’ and ‘the most important days of the summer’.
‘The 10 most important days of the summer lie ahead of us now,’ said Torra. ‘We have 10 days to see if, with a renewed collective effort, we can start turning things around. Because if we don’t, we’ll have to take a step backwards.’
‘This is the battle we must engage in over the next ten days,’ he added, ‘to prevent hospitals from coming under strain – because if we don’t, we all know what comes next.’
The Catalan president also appealed to young people to not hold gatherings on the streets – and for regional mayors to apply sanctions if the preventive measures were not being respected.
At the same time, Torra also appealed to international visitors and said, ‘I’d like to send a message to all the citizens of the world who are visiting us or want to visit us to assure them that Catalonia is a responsible tourist destination.’
#President @QuimTorraiPla: “I'd like to send a message to all the citizens of the world who are visiting us or want to visit us to assure them that Catalonia is a responsible tourist destination.” #Covid19 pic.twitter.com/slXAcGsnqV
— Catalan Government (@catalangov) July 27, 2020
On Friday the Catalan government imposed new restrictions on nightlife in another bid to prevent a further spread of Coronavirus, following the recent surge of new infections.
The Civil Protection (Procicat) ruled that nightclubs, venue halls and events with shows to be banned in all of Catalonia, as well as musical activities with dance floors. The order came into effect on 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 Figueresarea – 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.
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.
On Saturday, the UK took Spain off its list of safe destinations and advised ‘against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain’. From Sunday 26 July, any travellers returning from Spain (including from the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands) are now required to quarantine in self-isolation for 14 days on their return to the UK.
The UK government stated that it took the advice ‘based on evidence of increases in cases of Covid-19 in several regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia (which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona).’
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