A local court in Catalonia refused to endorse a strict lockdown that would have affected around 200,000 people in and around the city of Lleida, which has experienced a spike in coronavirus infections.
Elena García-Muñoz Alarcos, the judge presiding over the court, said she would not ratify the lockdown ordered by the Catalan government, arguing that it required approval from the central government in Madrid, local media reported.
The judge also voiced concerns as to whether the lockdown would have been proportionate, given it was “unlimited in time, further aggravating its content and consequences.”
Lleida’s provincial public prosecutor’s office was also against the planned confinement and had filed an appeal opposing the lockdown in the city and seven other municipalities in the Segrià region.
People in the Lleida area have been banned from traveling elsewhere since July 4. The regional authorities also wanted to stop people from leaving their homes except for work, to see a doctor, buy groceries or play sport. People will still not be able to leave the Lleida area, but they can move freely within it, the judge said.
Before Sunday’s court decision, Catalan President Quim Torra had pushed for a return to lockdown.
“According to epidemiological and expert data, we make a difficult but necessary decision,” Torra said on Twitter. “Everyone needs to be involved to prevent further infections [of COVID-19]. Protect yourself to protect others. All my solidarity to the residents of Lleida and the 7 municipalities of the Baix Segrià.”
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