Catalan government to lift tightened lockdown in Igualada area, pending Spain's approval
Authorities say the pace of covid-19 transmission in cluster is now similar to rest of Catalonia
The Catalan government intends to lift the tightened lockdown of four towns in the Conca d'Òdena area of central Catalonia, with Igualada being the biggest of them.
The civil protection authorities, chaired by the home affairs and health ministers, Miquel Buch and Alba Vergés, took the decision on Saturday afternoon, but it has to be greenlighted by Spain's government before coming into force.
Buch and Vergés decided it is right to lift the measures because the basic reproductive ratio of covid-19 in the four towns has been lowered to a similar level as that of the rest of Catalonia.
If the changes go ahead, the Igualada area will be under the same lockdown conditions as the rest of Catalonia.
Only essential services have been allowed in and out of Igualada, Òdena, Santa Margarida de Montbui and Vilanova del Camí since March 12.
Buch said that "in the coming hours" the Catalan government will officially make a request to Spain to lift the measures. Under the current state of alarm, Spain has taken over key Catalan services to fight the covid-19 crisis.
On March 25 Buch announced an enhanced lockdown for the area, with only essential services to be carried out. This was rejected by Spanish authorities, only for the whole of Spain to be placed under similar restrictions just five days later.
An investigation into that the outbreak that led to the four towns being completely sealed off by police showed it could be traced back to a lunch held on February 28 that was attended by 80 people, many of whom work in Igualada Hospital.
According to 2019 figures from the Catalan Statistics Institute, the area in lockdown, shown in the map above, has a total population of 66,048.