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A group of people wearing face masks to prevent the coronavirus in Barcelona, ​​Spain, on July 9, 2020. (AP Photo / Emilio Morenatti)

MADRID (AP) – A judge reversed a decision by the regional government of Catalonia, in Spain, to confine more than 140,000 people, alleging that only the central government can restrict freedom of movement.

Catalan authorities had announced the measure on Sunday, a week after limiting travel to and from the El Segriá region due to an outbreak of the virus that causes COVID-19. The new order prevented those affected from leaving their homes except for work and other essential activities.

However, a judge in Lleida, the largest city in the region, determined during the night that the measure is « indiscriminate » and « disproportionate » and could only be applied within the state of alarm, which in turn can only be declared by the government Spanish.

The Catalan government plans to appeal the decision, said regional vice president, Pere Aragonés.

The outbreak in rural areas has been linked to agricultural activity and seasonal day laborers, many of whom live in precarious conditions.

The 17 Spanish autonomous governments are now in charge of much of the management of the pandemic, after the central government ended 3 months of national restrictions in mid-June. At least 28,000 people have died from the virus in the country, according to official records.