Spain to lock down 70,000 people as coronavirus cases spike in Galicia

Social distancing measures taken to curb the spread of Coronavirus on a beach on 4 July, 2020 in Torrevieja, Spain. Source: AAP

Concerns about a new coronavirus outbreak in northwest Spain have triggered a strict lockdown over the weekend.

Spain's northwestern Galicia region ordered the lockdown of 70,000 people on Sunday amid fears of a fresh coronavirus outbreak, following a larger one in the northeast.

All residents of the town of La Marina, 140 kilometres east of La Coruna, will be unable to leave the vicinity and gatherings of more than ten people will be banned to limit the possibility of contagion.

People play football at a beach in La Coruna during unrestricted times
People play football at a beach in La Coruna during unrestricted times.

Movement will be restricted from midnight until Friday, just a couple of days before the region holds elections.

The decision came only a day after regional officials put 200,000 people back in confinement following a "sharp rise" in infections near the northeastern town of Lerida some 150 kilometres west of Catalan regional capital Barcelona.

The lockdown rules will be able to leave for work and under other extenuating circumstances.

Spaniards endured one of the world's toughest lock downs for three months from March as the country suffered one of Europe's worst coronavirus death tolls - at least 28,385 - and more than 250,000 cases.

"At the moment, we have 106 positive cases, which presupposes a rise on the previous day of 21 cases," Galician regional health official Jesus Vazquez told a news conference in provincial capital Lugo.

"It is considered necessary to raise levels of restrictions to attempt to improve the outlook and isolate ourselves from the possibility of exponential growth which is what tends to occur in the case of community transmission which, here, has not yet appeared."

As a precaution the zone will be cordoned off for at least five days as authorities monitor the situation.

At the national level, Spanish authorities see the pandemic as having been essentially brought under control but are monitoring some 50 instances where new cases appear to be latent.

Spain has recorded more than 28, 000 coronavirus deaths and a quarter of a million confirmed cases. 

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