March 13, 2020 / 8:17 PM / a month ago

Spain's Catalonia requests regional lockdown over coronavirus

MADRID (Reuters) - The regional government of Spain’s Catalonia asked Spanish central authorities to help it block access by air, rail and water to guarantee the confinement of the whole region due to the coronavirus epidemic, regional leader Quim Torra said.

“We believe all Catalonia needs to be confined,” he said in a televised news conference on Friday, adding that it was for preventive reasons to avoid a larger health crisis.

At the same time, Madrid regional chief Isabel Diaz Ayuso recommended that Madrid residents do not leave their homes to help contain the spread of the virus. Earlier, the regional government ordered the closure of all bars, restaurants and shops in the city apart from food shops and those providing essential services.

Spain’s response to the coronavirus, with wide differences between regions, stems from an intricate system of sharing of power between the central state and regions, which decide on health and education matters.

Reporting by Joan Faus and Jessica Jones, writing by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Ingrid Melander

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