Candidates vote in Catalonia regional election

Despite the recent improvement in public health, Catalonia is still the second worst-hit region in Spain and hospitals are under intense pressure leading health workers to express concern on voting day.

Local authorities have repeatedly said that all safety measures are working fine and people should feel safe to go vote.

A steady trickle of mask-wearing voters turned up at polling stations with safety measures in place.

Temperatures taken on arrival, election workers in protective suits or visors, separate entrances and exits, hand gel on tap and floor markings to ensure social distancing.

The leader in recent opinion polls, Socialist Salvador Illa, was seen in the morning having his body temperature measured and disinfecting his hands before voting in his hometown, La Roca del Valles.

If the Socialists - who oppose independence but favor dialogue - win it is very likely that they would need support from other parties to form the first anti-independence regional government in nine years.