SOME 209,000 people have been re-locked down in Catalunya following a local spike in new COVID-19 infections.

A perimeter has been set up around the Segria region in the province of Lleida by the Generalitat (the Catalan Government).

The affected area is a 1,400 kilometre square comarca of 38 municipalities, which includes the city of Lleida.

The confinement of the zone, which borders Zaragoza and Huesca, was enacted at 12pm after crisis talks with several local authorities.

Non-residents in Lleida had until 4pm to leave the area, with all entrance and exit now prohibited apart from for work reasons.

No end date has been specified for the ‘local lockdown’, but it is understood that it will last for a minimum of 15 days.

The movement of people in and out of Segria will be severely limited and meeting up in groups of more than 10 people is banned.

Day care centres for the elederly with remain closed throughout the lockdown and Catalan ministers have issued fresh calls to use masks and maintain social distancing.

Some 25 units of the Mossos d’Esquadra, comprising hundreds of officers, have been deployed to police checkpoints around the area.

Officers will be issuing fines to those who flout the restrictions.

It comes after the number of COVID-19 patients entering Vilanova de Lerida’s Arnau Hospital tripled in just 10 days.

On Friday the number of coronavirus patients had reached 4,030 in Lleida, 60 more than on Thursday.

On Thursday there were 128 more cases than on Wednesday.

The nine outbreaks in Lleida, which are among Spain’s most serious so far, centre on four fruit companies, an agri-food company, a nursing home and a homeless shelter.

President of Catalunya Quim Torra said: “We take a step back to protect ourselves and we will take all the decisions to stop the contagion.”

Spain’s latest lockdown follows outbreaks across the country from Aragon in the North to Andalucia in the South, as well as the capital Madrid.

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