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Barcelona tells people to stay at home and 100,000 mink to be culled in Aragon

Covid-19 cases have spiked in Catalonia and the neighbouring Aragon region.

A group of guests on a guided tour in Barcelona.
A group of guests on a guided tour in Barcelona.
Image: PA Images

RESIDENTS OF SPAIN’S second city Barcelona have been urged to stay at home unless absolutely necessary after a rise in coronavirus cases, the Catalan government has said.

The regional government also ordered the closure of cinemas, theatres and nightclubs and banned gatherings of more than 10 people in the coastal city, spokeswoman Meritxell Budo told a press conference.

Almost four million people are affected by the move in one of Europe’s most visited cities, where restaurants will have to limit capacity to one-half the usual amount.

Residents have also been asked not to flee to second homes outside the northeastern city, for a period expected to last about two weeks.

“We must take a step back to avoid returning in coming weeks to a total lockdown of the population,” Budo said, barely three weeks after Spanish confinement measures were lifted.

Residents had to “act quickly and decisively to avoid finding ourselves in the same situation as in March,” she added.

When the epidemic first hit Spain, the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez declared a state of emergency on 14 March, allowing it to impose one of the world’s tightest lockdowns.

Catalonia and the neighbouring Aragon region, where coronavirus cases have also spiked, are now of most concern to the Spanish authorities, as they watch more than 150 clusters of the virus across the country.

West of Barcelona, 160,000 people in Lerida and surrounding towns were placed under lockdown on Wednesday following a standoff between the regional government and judicial authorities.

Many Spanish regions have made it mandatory to wear face masks in public, even if people are able to maintain social distancing.


Spain has also ordered the culling of nearly 100,000 mink on a farm in the northeast after confirming many were carrying coronavirus

Speaking to reporters, Joaquin Olona, agriculture minister for the Aragon region, said the cull would involve the slaughter of some 92,700 mink who are prized for their pelt.

Located in Puebla de Valverde, about 100 kilometres northwest of the coastal resort of Valencia, the mink farm has been carefully monitored since 22 May after seven workers tested positive for Covid-19, he said.

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Since then, no animals have left the property, which is the only mink farm in Aragon.

Officials have since carried out a string of tests which on July 13 showed that 87% of the mink were infected, prompting the decision to carry out a cull “to avoid the risk of human transmission,” Olona said.

In the Netherlands, an estimated one million mink have been slaughtered since the start of the pandemic after 20 farms were found to be infected, the Dutch authorities said earlier this month. 

Spain has been badly hit by the pandemic, which has so far claimed more than 28,400 lives, with the authorities carefully monitoring more than 120 new outbreaks that have emerged since the lockdown was lifted on 21 June.

© – AFP 2020

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