Lleida is back in coronavirus lockdown. On Saturday the Catalan government decided to re-confine the entire western Catalonia county of Segrià, centred on the city of Lleida, after the detection of at least 8 coronavirus outbreaks, both in the city and its surrounding agricultural region. The measures came into effect on Saturday afternoon and apply to 33 municipalities and a population of more than 200,000 people. So what do they entail?
Can people enter and leave this area?
The short answer is no. In general, the lockdown has a hard perimeter, but there are exceptions for those who need to cross it for work, whether in essential services or not. Thus, people who need to travel, and especially across the county borders, should use a certificate of self-responsibility and a certificate from the employer. Specifically, the Catalan Mossos police will ask for the certificate of self-responsibility when checking traffic, and, from Tuesday, commuting trips will also have to be justified with a certificate from the employer.
Traffic will continue to be allowed to transit through the Segrià on the A2 and AP2 motorways, connecting Catalonia to Aragón and Madrid. However, checks will be made at exits in the lockdown zone.
Movement within the interior of the county is not formally limited, but the Civil Protection authorities advise that people should minimize their travel and where possible restrict it to the town or municipality where they live. In the case of people working in the agri-food sectors, movements must be restricted to those which are essential.
Limit of ten people in gatherings
Once again, gatherings and meetings, whether in public or private spaces, are limited to a maximum of 10 people, and it is recommended that only those who live in the same house should meet up in public. As for masks, they are already compulsory in Catalonia in any situation where a safety distance of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained. Civil Protection says in its FAQs on the lockdown: "A mask must always be worn on the street and in any public or private space where people gather."
Children are allowed to use playgounds but Civil Protection recommends extreme caution. Games that involve physical contact or using shared items (eg, balls) should be avoided. Extreme caution also applies to visits to people who are vulnerable: it will be possible to continue visiting dependent family members to give them the help they need, but strong precautionary measures are required: hand cleaning, safety distances and masks. Visits to nursing homes will be restricted, and senior citizens' day centres will remain closed.
Food distribution is considered an essential service and therefore will not be affected. As for public transport, it will operate, but there will be checks on people travelling.
At least 10-15 days
Catalan health officials have said that the lockdown will last at least 10-15 days, the minimum period to ensure that it is having the desired effects.
The Civil Protection department's information and FAQs on the lockdown in Catalan and Castilian can be found here.
El Nacional.cat's explanation of the Certificate of Self-Responsibility in English is here.