Spanish court suspends lockdown after virus curfew imposed

Police officer informs a woman to wear a face mask in Las Ramblas, Barcelona on July 9. (AP pic)

MADRID: A local court on Monday suspended a home confinement order imposed on more than 200,000 people in the Spanish region of Catalonia after an upsurge in virus cases.

Catalonia officials ordered the home confinement on the city of Lerida and its surrounding areas a week after the zone had been placed under less strict lockdown.

“The Lerida district court has decided not to ratify the measures of the 12 July resolution,” the Catalan supreme court said on its Twitter account, although the decision can be appealed.

Catalonia’s health director Alba Verges said officials were looking at ways of resolving the legal issue, insisting that the measures were crucial.

“We would not have taken them if it were not absolutely necessary,” she told local radio, calling on residents to stay in their homes despite the court ruling.

More than 70 coronavirus clusters have now been identified in Spain, with the area around Lerida among the most concerning.

Officials have linked the fresh outbreaks to seasonal agricultural workers who harvest fruit in northern Spain.

Other clusters have been identified in the northwest regions of Galicia and the Basque country, where the country’s first regional elections since the onset of the pandemic were held on Sunday.