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CATALONIA

Catalonia set for new Covid-19 restrictions ‘in the coming days’

As Covid-19 cases steadily rise in Catalonia, the Catalan government is poised to announce new restrictions in the coming days.

Catalonia set for new Covid-19 restrictions 'in the coming days'
Photo: Josep LAGO / AFP

On Sunday the Public Health Secretary of the Generalitat, Josep Maria Argimon, asked that businesses return to working from home and that universities return to virtual classes for the next 15 days. He expressed the need for companies to put remote working practices in place quickly.

In an interview with Rac1 radio station Argimon expressed concern that cases were rising more than they had anticipated and that “more measures” will have to be taken in the next few days. “Clearly we need to reduce mobility and social interaction,” he said.  

So far, 60 cases have been reported at Barcelona University, La Vanguardia reported, most of whom were asymptomatic. A further 200 students have been asked to quarantine in their rooms for the next 10 days, while another 150 were isolating in their homes.

New epidemiological data showed that without restrictions, in two weeks the Covid-19 situation could be as bad as Madrid’s, where a state of alarm and a partial lockdown has been imposed.

Public Health Secretary Josep Maria Argimon. Photo: Pau BARRENA / AFP

Catalonia reported approximately 2,300 Covid-19 cases for the third day in a row on Sunday October 11th, pushing up the weekly surge in infections to 11,564, a 26 percent increase from the previous record set last week.

The nearby region of Navarra also recently announced new restrictions because of the rise in cases. Meetings are to be limited to six people, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm and their capacity will be limited to 30 percent. Capacity at cinemas, theatres and libraries will also be reduced to 30 percent, while supermarkets will be limited to 40 percent.

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SPANISH POLITICS

Catalonia’s separatist parliament speaker suspended over corruption charges

The speaker of Catalonia’s parliament was suspended Thursday, two days after a court in the northeastern region of Spain ordered the hardline separatist to stand trial for misdirection of public funds.

Catalonia's separatist parliament speaker suspended over corruption charges

The decision by the assembly’s governing table to temporarily suspend Laura Borràs as both speaker and a lawmaker in the Catalan parliament has fuelled tensions in coalition which governs the region.

It was backed by all the parties with representation on the table, except for her “Together for Catalonia” (JxC) party.

Borràs is accused of awarding contracts worth around €300,000 ($295,000) to a colleague when she headed the Catalan Institute of Letters, a regional body charged with promoting Catalan language and literature.

A top court in Catalonia on Tuesday ordered her to stand trial for malfeasance and forgery.

Public prosecutors are calling for her to be sentenced to six years in jail and to be banned from holding public office for 21 years.

Borràs denies the allegations, arguing they are part of the “judicial persecution” of Catalan separatists.

After she was suspended she repeated these arguments — and lashed out at the other separatist parties which voted in favour of it.

“My suspension only benefits those who have bet on a dirty war, but it also makes complicit those who executed it,” she said.

Borràs belongs to the same party as former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who fled to Belgium after Catalonia’s failed 2017 independence bid to avoid arrest

Her JxC governs Catalonia in a coalition led by the more moderate ERC party which backed her suspension, as did another smaller separatist formation, the CUP.

She has been speaker of the Catalan parliament since March 2021.

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