(Update 1: Adds details)
Madrid, May 9 (EFE).- The Spanish state of alarm, a mechanism that since for the last six months has given legal underpinning to drastic pandemic restrictions, came to an end this weekend, prompting parties in the streets of Madrid and Barcelona.
The state of alarm allowed the Spanish government to enforce extraordinary measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. These included a ban on travel between regions, a limit on social gatherings and a nightly curfew.
In all but four Spanish regions, the curfew expired at midnight on Saturday and in the early hours of Sunday morning crowds of youngsters in major cities came back out into the streets to celebrate.
In the capital Madrid, police cleared crowds from the central Puerta de Sol square while revelers in Barcelona gathered in the city’s Barceloneta neighborhood, which is by the beach.
Madrid’s city police had to intervene in 450 incidents, mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida said on Sunday, adding that the scenes of partying in the Spanish capital were “lamentable.”
With the end of the state of alarm, it is now up to Spain’s regional authorities to draw up Covid-19 restrictions.
In Madrid, social gatherings in restaurant and bar terraces areas are still limited to six people but it is no longer illegal to have friends or family visit your house. Mask-use is still obligatory.
Spain has reported a drop in the number of Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in recent days.
Spain’s health ministry will on Monday publish the latest vaccine figures, which could see the country surpass the milestone of 20 million doses and six million people fully inoculated with both shots. EFE