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Quim Torra defies justice freeze on stay-at-Home order in Catalonia's west

Catalonia's regional president Quim Torra gives a press conference after meeting with Spain's Prime Minister at the Generalitat (Catalan government headquarters) in Barcelona on February 06, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Kusai Kedri
Press TV, Barcelona

A major crisis is brewing between Catalonia's regional government and the Spanish justice after a judge blocked a stay-at-home order in the Segrià region following the recent outbreaks of COVID-19.

President Quim Torra Tuesday dismissed the justice freeze and vowed to push on with a decree to enforce the lockdown.

Catalonia's health authorities issued the stay-at-home order Monday as COVID-19 numbers continued to trend up but a judge quickly blocked it arguing it was too restrictive and saying only Madrid could take impose such a ban.

Catalonia accounts for half of the new confirmed cases across Spain and the half the confirmed numbers are concentrated in the west of the region.

As regional authorities in Catalonia scramble to stem the spread of the virus, Madrid has hinted it will not intervene in the ongoing legal dispute. Local residents in the west of Catalonia blame regional authorities for failing to offer economic alternatives to the stay-at-home orders.

Lleida's chief prosecutor Juan Boné has warned Quim Torra he will appeal the new decree to Spain's Constitutional court saying it infringes "fundamental rights".

The last thing local authorities in Catalonia want is a legal dispute that slows down their efforts to limit the spread Coronavirus.

Their critics contend they must find the right balance between deploying enough funds and personnel while keeping the economy open.

It's a catch 22 situation and it's unclear if they can go it alone.

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