4 towns in northern Spain quarantined

A passenger holds his son at Adolfo Suarez-Barajas international airport in Madrid on March 12. (AP pic)

MADRID: Four towns in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region were put under quarantine on Thursday, the civil protection agency said, in a first in the country.

The 66,000 inhabitants of the localities of Igualada, Odena, Santa Margarida de Montbui and Vilanova del Cami “cannot leave their urban core” although they can leave their homes, a statement said, citing instructions from Catalonia’s governor.

Catalonia’s health minister Alba Verges told reporters that the authorities would be focussing on Igualada, a town of 40,000 inhabitants which is only 70km from the regional capital Barcelona, as the number of cases was growing rapidly.

There are currently 58 cases in the town, 38 more than on Wednesday, he said.