Europe

Spain to lock down Covid-19 hotspot Madrid, angering regional government

Issued on: 01/10/2020 – 03:10

Residents of infection hotspot Madrid are to be barred from leaving except on essential trips under new rules to fight the coronavirus resurgence, Spain's government said on Wednesday.

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But regional authorities said the decision had no legal basis, setting the stage for a political showdown in an area accounting for more than a third of Spain's 133,604 new cases in the past two weeks.

"Madrid's health is Spain's health. Madrid is special," Health Minister Salvador Illa told a news conference to announce the new regulations, due to come into force in days.

The capital city, with more than 3 million people, and nine surrounding municipalities with at least 100,000 inhabitants each, are to see borders closed to outsiders for non-essential visits, the government said.

People would be allowed to cross boundaries for work, school, doctors' visits or shopping, but not for leisure.

Other measures include the closure of bars and restaurants at 11 p.m., from a previous curfew of 1 a.m., as well as shutting parks and playgrounds.

Social gatherings will be limited to six people.

Madrid has 735 cases per 100,000 people, one of the highest of any region in Europe and double Spain's national rate.

The conservative regional assembly had already enforced localised lockdowns in 45, mostly poor districts, often with a high immigrant population.

But the wider restrictions announced by Illa see the Socialist-led central government overrRead More – Source