Girona and Central Catalonia proposed to move to Phase 2
Catalan government requests Barcelona health regions to be merged as Lleida asked to stay in Phase 1 after increase in transmissions
The Catalan government has requested for the Girona and central Catalonia health regions to move to lockdown easing Phase 2 next Monday.
If accepted by the Spanish health ministry this Friday, these areas would join the Tarragona, Ebre and Catalan western Pyrenees areas, which made it to Phase 2 this Monday.
In the four-stage de-escalation plan regions have to stay in the same stage for two weeks, when - if no issues are identified - they can move forward.
For the Catalan authorities this is the case for Girona, central Catalonia, and the Barcelona counties of Garraf and Alt Penedès.
Surge of cases in Lleida
Yet, not for Lleida, after the Catalan health ministry identified a surge in cases, especially in agri-food firms that maintained "minimum services" during the peak of the crisis.
This increase in Covid-19 cases in Lleida has also been attributed to cases discovered at elderly care homes and a birthday party with some 20 guests.
The rate of diagnoses for the previous seven days was 12.1 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on May 11, but it surged to 42.7 cases on May 25.
Subsequently, the government has proposed for Lleida to remain in Phase 1 for a third week, at least until May 31.
Merging the three Barcelona area health regions
As for Barcelona and the metropolitan area, they will remain in Phase 1 next week as they only made it to this stage on Monday – yet, the Catalan executive has officially urged that the capital and the surrounding area be merged into one health region.
As things stand, for the purposes of lockdown de-escalation, the area is divided into three regions: metropolitan area north, metropolitan area south, and Barcelona city, 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 resident outside the city boundaries, including areas such as Sant Adrià de Besòs and L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, cannot enter.
In a press conference on Monday morning Barcelona's mayor, Ada Colau, explained that the council has made a request to unify the three areas taking into account the social, economic and mobility reality.
Colau said that the three areas are very interconnected and that is why the merger has been requested, adding that most councils have spoken out in favor of unifying the region.