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Barcelona and metropolitan area merged into one health region

Residents will be able to move within region while Lleida stays in Phase 1 while Girona, Central Catalonia, Alt Penedès and Garraf enter Phase 2

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28 May 2020 07:57 PM

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ACN|Barcelona

Barcelona and its metropolitan area will be merged into one health region from next Monday, June 1.

This was announced on Thursday evening by Spain’s health minister, Salvador Illa, and the head of health emergencies in Spain, Fernando Simón, in a press conference.

This means that Spain has accepted the request of the Catalan and Barcelona authorities, which asked for the merge.

As things stand until Sunday, for the purposes of lockdown de-escalation, the area will still be divided into three regions: the northern metropolitan area, the southern metropolitan area, and the city of Barcelona, with travel between them only allowed for work or health reasons until Phase 3.

This means that Barcelona residents cannot leave the city, and those residing outside the city boundaries, including areas such as Sant Adrià de Besòs and L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, cannot enter the Catalan capital either.

Travel within the entire metropolitan area and capital

With the new regulation, residents will be able to travel the region for any permitted activities, such as visiting any establishment open under de-escalation Phase 1 limitations – such as outdoor seating areas of bars, shops, and hotels.

Illa and Simón also announced that Barcelona will stay in Phase 1 for another week, as requested by Catalan authorities, as the standard is to spend two weeks in each phase.

Lleida stays in Phase 1 after surge in cases

Lleida will also spend another week in Phase 1, as requested by the Catalan health ministry, after identifying a surge in Covid-19 cases there.

This increase has been attributed to cases discovered at slaughterhouses, elderly care homes, and a birthday party with some 20 guests.

Girona, Central Catalonia, Alt Penedès and Garraf move to Phase 2

Spain also accepted the request for the Girona and Central Catalonia health regions to move to Phase 2 from next Monday, June 1, joining Tarragona, Ebre, and the Western Catalan Pyrenees.

The counties of Garraf and Alt Penedès, in the capital's metropolitan area but further ahead in terms of lockdown easing than the rest of Barcelona, will also move to Phase 2. Travel between areas that are in different phases is not permitted, so people in Garraf and Alt Penedès won’t be able to travel to Barcelona or vice versa. 

There is some confusion about travel between Garraf and Alt Penedès and the rest of the metropolitan area south while the areas are in the same phase. The Catalan police have said travel is allowed, but the health department says the contrary, saying they are now separate areas for the purposes of the lockdown de-escalation plan.

 

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  • Salvador Illa, Spanish health minister, speaking in a press conference in March, 2020 (by Andrea Zamorano)

  • Salvador Illa, Spanish health minister, speaking in a press conference in March, 2020 (by Andrea Zamorano)

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