MADRID – Some areas at risk of ‘uncontrolled’ COVID-19 spread

Spain’s health ministry warned on Wednesday of a “high risk of uncontrolled” virus transmission in some regions, including in the capital city of Madrid, which is one of the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, EFE reported.

The risk is particularly high in Spanish regions registering a contagion rate above 250 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, sources from Spain’s health ministry have said. A draft proposal for a new national action plan to contain the pandemic – seen by EFE – states that the contagion rate of 250 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, as proposed by the ministry, is a clear indicator of the high risk of uncontrolled transmissions of the virus in some regions.

Based on this indicator, Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa has recommended the implementation of new mobility restriction measures for the whole of Madrid.

However, Madrid’s regional government refuses to apply the same health criteria and indicators, and again refused to lockdown the entire city on Wednesday, asking instead, for new health criteria to be used, EFE reported

Madrid’s regional government is in the hands of conservative Popular Party and centre-right Ciudadanos, while Spain’s central government is led by a coalition between Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist Party and left-wing party, Unidas Podemos.

Tense negotiations between the central government and Madrid’s regional authorities were still underway on Wednesday.

The Madrid region’s conservative president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has refused to act on the national government’s advice to extend a partial lockdown currently in place for 45 of the hardest-hit districts to all areas in Madrid.

At the end of the state of alarm in June, the power to enforce COVID-19 restrictions was handed from the central government to regional authorities. To intervene in regional affairs again, the Spanish government would have to invoke a law it passed at the end of the state of alarm which allows it to override local authorities.

(EUROEFE WITH EPA)

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