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The president of Catalonia, Quim Torra, has held a press conference this Friday evening to announce his government's decision to decree lockdown for the whole territory of Catalonia to halt the spread of coronavirus and to request the collaboration of the Spanish government in this decision.

"Today we believe that we have to anticipate that this illness will develop too rapidly in our country, which is why we believe that the whole of Catalonia must be put into lockdown," he announced.  "We are ready for this action. We have the capacity to make the lockdown effective. We cannot afford to allow our health system to be overwhelmed," he said.

"President Quim Torra: "We believe that it is necessary to place Catalonia in lockdown. I ask you this effort, to take it a step further with a lockdown to protect ourselves."— Catalan Government

Torra assured that the Catalan government's police and emergency forces were ready to restrict entry to and departure from Catalonia, but acknowledged that collaboration from the Spanish state was essential to make this possible.

He explained that he had asked the Spanish government for their help in closing down arrivals and departures via ports, airports and rail, since it is the Madrid government which holds the competency in these areas and that he was waiting for their "reply" to enable full lockdown of the country as soon as possible."

With respect to this, he expressed his confidence that today's declaration of a state of alarm by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez will facilitate the Spanish government's support for this decision.

Torra called on Catalans to avoid any unnecessary journeys and warned that this gesture was essential to stop the pandemic. "It's time to slow down, stop, stay home as much as possible," he insisted.

The president emphasized that up till now it has been the government of Catalonia which has decided on all the measures that have been taken and that the emergency services will be able to assume the goal of placing the country in lockdown status.

The Catalan government made this decision the day after the local lockdown declared for the city of Igualada and three surrounding municipalities following the outbreak of a cluster of coronavirus cases.