Madrid sealed off amid Covid resurgence

Madrid, Oct 3 (efe-epa).- The Spanish capital Madrid on Saturday awoke to a partial lockdown, meaning its residents cannot leave the city limits except for essential trips and work, for which they need to show official permission if requested.

Partial lockdowns, which are less strict than the draconian measures implemented under the state of alarm between March and June, are also in force across nine of the capital’s satellite cities.

Police have set up checkpoints on main roads leading out of the city and those who need to leave for work or to attend a doctor’s appointment may be asked to provide proof.

However, fines for breaking the new rules cannot be issued until the measures are ratified by the regional court.

The restrictions are due to last 14 days, but could be extended.

The region of Madrid is leading Europe in the second wave of Covid-19 infections with a two-week incidence rate of 692.1 cases per 100,000 people, although the figures are more acute in certain neighborhoods, especially in the south.

The partial lockdown came into effect at 10pm on Friday.

Madrid’s regional government, led by the conservative Popular Party, reluctantly enforced the measures, which were published this week by prime minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialist Party-led government.

“Thanks for the chaos, Pedro Sanchez,” Madrid regional leader, Isabel Diaz-Ayuso, tweeted last night.

She has already challenged the measures at the National Court.

Her regional government had initially backed the government lockdown criteria, which affects any municipality with a population of over 100,000.

The government measures oblige local authorities to enforce a partial lockdown in large towns and cities where there is a two-week incidence rate of more than 500 cases per 100,000 people, a positive test return rate of 10% and if 35% of ICU beds are taken by Covid-19 patients.

Under the guidelines, social gatherings have to be capped at six people both inside and outside the household.

Spanish health authorities added 11,325 to the national caseload on Friday.

There have been almost 790,000 positive cases in Spain since the pandemic began and more than 31,000 deaths related to coronavirus.

Almost a quarter of all cases being detected in Spain are in Madrid.

Spain has a two-week coronavirus incidence rate of 269.5 per 100,000 people, making it the worst-affected country in the European Union, followed by France with 225.4 per 100,000.EFE-EPA


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