Residents of Barcelona were urged to stay home and not gather in groups of more than 10 on Friday as regional authorities sought to curb a rise in coronavirus cases, while stopping short of imposing a mandatory lockdown.
“We recommend that people don’t move around if it’s not absolutely necessary,” Catalonia’s health chief Alba Verges told a news conference. “It is very important to respect these measures now, it’s the best way to avoid a lockdown.”
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Residents were urged to shop online and cultural and sports events will also be limited. But museums will remain open in the Catalan capital, one of Europe’s most visited cities.
Barcelona, which is Spain’s second largest city with a population of 1.6 million people, has seen its number of coronavirus cases jump from last week.
Spain reported the steepest daily jump in coronavirus infections in over two months on Thursday, with 580 new cases registered. Catalonia and neighboring Aragon have led the increase.
Spain has been one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries with more than 28,000 deaths in the pandemic. It emerged from a strict national lockdown on June 21 but since then more than 170 clusters have sprung up, prompting regional authorities to impose a patchwork of local restrictions.