France watching Spain virus clusters closely, says PM

France watching Spain virus clusters closely, says PM
France watching Spain virus clusters closely, says PM

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - People sit on terraces of restaurants, after Catalonia's regional authorities and the city council announced restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease in Barcelona, Spain July 17, 2020. — Reuters pic

PRADES, France , July 18 — France is watching coronavirus clusters in neighbouring Spain very closely, Prime Minister Jean Castex said today, less than a month after the border between the two countries was reopened. 

Spanish health officials are monitoring more than 150 outbreaks across the country just weeks after they ended one of the world's toughest lockdown regimes.

They are particularly alarmed at clusters popping up in Catalonia, one of the border regions, and yesterday asked more than four million people in regional capital Barcelona to stay at home except for necessary trips.

“We are monitoring this very closely, here in particular, because it is a real issue that we also need to discuss with the Spanish authorities,” Castex said in response to a question about the possible closure of borders. 

The frontier was reopened on June 21 after three months of strict confinement on the Spanish side to contain the pandemic.

But the upsurge in cases in Catalonia has already prompted the re-imposition of lockdown in one area.

Some 160,000 people in Lerida and surrounding towns were ordered to stay in their homes on Wednesday, following a standoff between the regional government and a local court that had blocked the order. 

Many Spanish regions have made it mandatory to wear face masks in public, even if people maintain social distancing.

Spain has suffered more than 28,400 deaths from the pandemic, one of the highest rates in the world. — AFP

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