Madrid Coronavirus: Spain orders lockdown amid increasing cases

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  • Coronavirus epidemic

A police officer in Madrid talks with a driver

Image copyrightEPA

image CaptionThe ban will prohibit people from leaving the Madrid area unless it is for a necessary visit

The Spanish government has ordered the capital Madrid and surrounding areas to be badly affected by coronaviruses after an increase in cases.

Under the new restrictions, residents will not be allowed to leave the area unless they have to make a necessary trip.

However, the regional government of Madrid says the lockdown is not legally valid.

Greater Madrid accounted for more than one-third of the 133,604 cases diagnosed in Spain in the past two weeks.

On Wednesday, most of Spain’s regional governments, which are in charge of healthcare, voted in favor of banning those areas with more than 100,000 residents if they met the three benchmarks – 500 cases per 100,000 residents, Positive results in 35% of Kovid patient occupancy units in intensive care and 10% of trials.

Madrid, which has a rate of 780 infections per 100,000, already meets the criteria. However, it is not yet clear when the restrictions will be imposed.

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Under lockdown, the Madrid region will be close to visitors for non-essential trips. People will be allowed to cross the border for work, doctor visits and shopping. Playgrounds and parks will also be closed.

Social gatherings will be limited to six people.

Madrid’s regional government, which is controlled by the conservative opposition and does not vote in favor of sanctions, has argued that the lockdown is not legally valid.

Regional health chief Enrique Ruiz Escudero accused the central government of sending “a message of alarm and agitation” and did not refuse to fight the lockout in court.

The Madrid regional government chose not to put the city and surrounding areas into lockdown, instead issuing sanctions in 45 basic health care areas to prevent the spread of the virus.

These measures were themselves controversial because they affected most of the city’s poor areas and prompted protests by hundreds of residents.

Spain’s central government argued that the restrictions were not enough and recommended the end of all unnecessary movement across the city.

Spain has seen a significant increase in cases in recent weeks. According to Johns Hopkins University data, more than 31,411 people have died and more than 748,000 infections have occurred during the epidemic.

The World Health Organization said earlier this week that European countries were seeing “growing concern for the disease”.

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