Catalan President Quim Torra's demands to lockdown Catalonia, which were ignored by the Spanish government, reached The New York Times on Saturday, after he was interviewed on the BBC.
In an article regarding the situation in Europe, hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the NYT singled out Spain passing a grim milestone on Friday, when it became the second European country to report over 1,000 coronavirus deaths.
Spain reported nearly 250 new coronavirus deaths on Friday, following a pattern seen in Italy just days ago. https://t.co/lGziwFewzS— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) March 20, 2020
It praised the fast response of the Catalan government when faced with this situation, which "reacted more quickly than Mr. Sánchez, closing bars and restaurants last Friday and asking national authorities to help cordon off their region from the rest of Spain."
The newspaper also publishes statements by Catalan minister of interior Miquel Buch, who asked for "drastic, tough and efficient measures" reminding of the fact that "When we in Catalonia were taking drastic measures not to let the disease propagate, in Spain they were not.”
Spanish army in Barcelona and Government power in Madrid
The Times explains how the centralization measures taken by the Spanish Government after declaring a nationwide lockdown were not well received in Catalonia, that "refuses to sign a joint declaration handing control to Madrid." "The national police have taken control of the regional police (...) and on Thursday, the Spanish army entered the Catalan city of Barcelona (...) and it is deploying in dozens of Catalan towns this week."
Despite Spanish president Pedro Sánchez's efforts to make the situation look under control and better managed from Madrid, the prestigious USA newspaper calls this into question: "the outbreak has tested Madrid’s ability to share power over public health, not just with Catalonia, but with other regions across Spain" which "took the lead in responding to the crisis."