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Catalonia curbs movement of 200,000 people after new coronavirus outbreaks


LLEIDA (Reuters) - Police at roadblocks warned motorists they were entering a lockdown zone on Saturday as Spain's northeastern region of Catalonia reimposed restrictions on more than 200,000 people following several new coronavirus outbreaks.

Residents in Segria, which includes the city of Lleida, will not be able to leave the area from 12 noon (1000 GMT) on Saturday, but they will not have to stay at home as was the case during Spain's original lockdown.

As police stopped cars heading to Lleida, some drivers decided to turn around to avoid getting stuck inside the city.

"We've decided to confine Segria due to data that confirm too significant a growth in the number of COVID-19 infections," Catalan regional president Quim Torra told a news conference.

Regional health ministry data showed there were 3,706 cases in the Lleida region on Friday, up from 3,551 the previous day.

Catalonia is one of the hardest-hit parts of Spain, with a total of 72,860 coronavirus cases, according to regional health ministry data released on Friday.

People in Lleida will be allowed to go to work outside the city, but from Tuesday workers entering or leaving the lockdown area will have to present a certificate from their employer.

Spain has registered 205,545 coronavirus cases and 28,385 deaths, making it one of Europe's worst-affected countries.

After imposing a strict lockdown on March 14, the government has been gradually easing restrictions in a multi-phase plan since early May.

(Reporting by Luis Felipe Castilleja, Jordi Rubio and Nacho Doce; Writing by Jessica Jones; Editing by Alexander Smith and Helen Popper)

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