Coronavirus: Madrid Closure Despite Opposition From Local Authorities

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Coronavirus: Madrid closure despite opposition from local authorities

PANDEMIC: In particular, the inhabitants of Madrid will be prohibited from entering or leaving the city except to go to work, to go to the doctor or to take children to school.

The city of Madrid is cordoned off, an idea rejected by local authorities. Faced with a “worrying” explosion of Covid-19 cases, the Spanish government decided on Wednesday to impose, after a long standoff, a closure of the capital.

The decree prepared by the Ministry of Health plans, in particular, to extend to the entire capital the measures already in force for a week in the areas of the region most affected by the virus and therefore to prohibit all residents of Madrid to enter or leave the city except in particular to go to work, to the doctor or to take the children to school. It is therefore not a question of strict confinement as Spain was able to experience it in the spring.

The agreement is “not legally valid”

“We have reached (….) An agreement (on this text) approved by a large majority” by the regions, competent in matters of Health, declared the Minister of Health Salvador Illa to the press. But the announcement, which comes after a two-week showdown between the left-wing central government and the right-wing Madrid regional executive, was immediately rejected by the latter.

The agreement is “not legally valid”, hastened to indicate the head of Health for the region, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, whose executive had yet reached an agreement in principle with the State on Tuesday evening.

Despite the refusal of Madrid and other regions, these measures “must be effective” once the decree published in the Official Journal “in the coming days”, assured Salvador Illa. “I do not envisage” that the region of Madrid could not apply them, he said, describing the situation as “complex and worrying” in a region which accounts for 43.7% of new cases in the country. On the contrary, Enrique Ruiz Escudero spoke of “the first signals showing that we are entering a favourable situation”.

Nine peripheral municipalities concerned

In addition to the capital and its three million inhabitants, nine municipalities on the periphery must be affected by these restrictions because they meet the three required criteria: a contamination rate greater than 500 per 100,000 inhabitants over the last two weeks, a rate of occupancy of intensive care units greater than 35% and a positive rate for PCR screening tests greater than 10%.

More than a million people living in the worst affected areas of Madrid and its region are already affected by these restrictions. They are prohibited from leaving their neighbourhood except for reasons of first necessity, but they can, on the other hand, move freely in their neighbourhood, where parks are closed and where restaurants and bars have had their capacity reduced.

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