LOCKDOWN measures are being reintroduced for the first time in a Valencian Community town since the State of Alarm was lifted on June 21.

The restrictions in Benigànim will last for a fortnight and come into force this afternoon(August 31) after a major spike in COVID-19 cases in the second half of August.

Infection rates have skyrocketed from 34.24 cases per 100,000 residents in the week ending August 16 to 994.46 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days.

Entry by road into the municipality will be restricted with residents told to stay at home, unless they are going to work, seeing a doctor, or doing essential shopping..

Bars and restaurants will be closed along with all leisure, educational and social facilities.

Benigànim is 35 kilometres inland from the Costa Blanca resort of Gandia and has a population of six thousand people.

The strict measures have been introduced by Valencian regional health minister Ana Barcelo.

She said: “The rise in COVID-19 coronavirus cases around Benigànim show that there has been a significant transmission of the virus, which is why the restrictions have been put into place to reduce the risk of further contagion.”

“It was a difficult decision, but a necessary one,” she added.

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