Madrid urged to extend lockdown

Spain’s leftist coalition government urged local authorities in Madrid (Comunidad de Madrid, ruled by the conservative Popular Party, PP) to place the entire capital, rather than selected districts, in a form of lockdown to curb the fast spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Spanish capital, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.

Restrictions in place in Madrid since the start of the week to curb a surge of infections will be extended to a further eight health districts as of today (28 September), city health officials have said, ruling out a city-wide lockdown despite constant pleas from the Spanish health ministry.

These opposing views sparked a fierce clash during the weekend between Madrid’s regional government and Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa. Sources in the central government said on Sunday that the executive was ready to retake control of the situation should the Madrid community not change its view.

On Sunday, Madrid’s regional executive said it could accept the extension of lockdowns under certain conditions, among other, to implement mobility restrictions in the entire country and do PCR tests in airports and train stations, EFE reported.

Health and Education are among other competences transferred to local communities in Spain, but under extraordinary circumstances (such as the declaration of the state of alarm from March to June) the central government can take over.

In total, there are 45 health districts affected by the new mobility restrictions covering 1,025,000 people.

Madrid now accounts for 40% of the infections across Spain as Spanish health authorities reported 4,122 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours last Friday, making it Europe’s worst-affected city. They also added a further 12,000 cases to the overall caseload since the pandemic began as more test results from previous days were computed. Read more.

Restrictions were imposed across 37 health districts in the capital city on Monday, and Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa has repeatedly urged the city’s authorities to apply those measures to “the whole of Madrid.”

On Sunday, Illa stressed that Madrid is “in a situation of serious health risk”, “we are worried”, he said on his Twitter account EFE reported.

Illa wants the regional government in Madrid to “review its decisions” and extend the lockdown measures to all areas in Madrid that have recorded over 500 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the last 15 days. (EUROEFE with EPA)

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