The president of the Catalan government, Quim Torra, has said that he does not accept the decision of the court of Lleida to overturn the house confinement in the city and in the Baix Segrià region, and that he assumes the consequences. “We ask the population to protect themselves from the advance of the coronavirus and to follow our instructions,” he told during a press conference.

The president also announced that a decree-law will be approved today that will serve as a plan to deal with the resurgence of COVID-19. In this way, the confinement dictated yesterday will be ensured, but it will also serve as a guide for the executive to act in new sources of contagion in other municipalities or counties.

The Catalan government’s decision to reimpose lockdown in the city of Lleida and seven surrounding municipalities amid a surge in coronavirus infections is up in the air after a court ruled against the home confinement order on Monday. The regional court in Lleida, in western Catalonia, accused Catalan authorities of overstepping their authority and stated that only the Spanish government can issue a stay-at-home order by triggering the state of alarm like it did on March 14.

Conflict of power

The Catalan government criticized the decision, called on people to comply with the home confinement order, and announced it would pass a decree establishing the legal framework for new lockdown measures. “Other Spanish regions have adopted tougher measures, like denying Covid-positive people the right to vote in the Basque Country and Galicia,” said Catalan president Quim Torra. Vice president Pere Aragonès argued that “health reasons must prevail” over jurisdiction debates, stressing that “all sacrifices serve to protect people’s health.”

After a three-month lockdown, Spanish president Pedro Sánchez said the coronavirus pandemic had been “defeated” and announced the arrival of “new normality,” but a string of new outbreaks and growing infections have renewed health concerns.

On Sunday, Catalonia reported 816 new Covid-19 cases, the highest daily rise since May 19. Over the past weeks, the Catalan government has put in place a series of measures aimed at fighting the spread of the disease, such as the compulsory use of face masks and the partial lockdown of Lleida and the rest of Segrià county.

A week after limiting freedom of movement between Segrià county and the rest of Catalonia, the government took safety measures a step further by demanding 160,000 people living in Lleida and seven nearby towns to only leave their places of residence if necessary.

Reaction to lockdown measures

Some people in Lleida responded by taking to the streets to protest, demanding that President Torra and the city’s mayor, Miquel Pueyo, step down.

According to the judge, the Catalan government’s initial stay-at-home order identifies 11 outbreaks at companies in the area, but two are in towns that have not received home confinement orders.

The judge further argues that home confinement is not justified as the exact location of other outbreaks is not stated in the Catalan government resolution, nor does it provide concrete figures on the state of community transmission.

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