COVID-19

Spain mulls imposing Madrid emergency over lockdown chaos

Agence France-Presse

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Spain mulls imposing Madrid emergency over lockdown chaos

A healthcare worker wearing protective gear is pictured inside La Paz hospital, in Madrid, on September 22, 2020. - Spain's health minister today called on residents of Madrid to limit their movements and social contacts to the "essential" to put the brakes on a surge in Covid-19 infections, a day afer new restrictions came into effect in part of the region. Spain is struggling to contain a second wave of the virus, which has already infected over 670,000 people and claimed over 30,000 lives, one of Europe's highest tolls. Madrid has become the epicentre of the contagion with a rate of infection of nearly 700 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks -- nearly three times the national average. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP)

PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP

Rising cases force Spain to consider a lockdown in the capital

Spain’s cabinet was to meet on Friday, October 9, to discuss imposing a state of emergency in Madrid after judges overturned a partial lockdown that was opposed by the regional authorities.

Thursday’s bombshell decision in effect cancelled restrictions imposed on some 4.5 million people in and around the capital, where infections are rising sharply.

Madrid’s right-wing regional administration, which has responsibility for public healthcare, had strongly opposed the measures imposed on October 2 barring residents of the capital and 9 nearby towns from leaving the city limits except for work, school or on medical grounds.

But the central government wants a swift resolution, with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez calling an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday morning to mull the options.

The exact time of the meeting has not been announced.

Speaking to Madrid’s leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso late on Thursday, Sanchez said the region could issue an order validating the restrictions or ask the central government to impose a state of emergency to ratify the measures.

The third option was for the central government to impose such a measure, he told her, saying that in all 3 cases, the restrictions would remain the same.

In a tweet late on Thursday, Diaz Ayuso said she would hold talks “first thing in the morning” with her administration to consider the alternatives ahead of a meeting later in the day with Sanchez.

Sanchez was due to travel to Barcelona with King Felipe on Friday morning, with the cabinet meeting to be chaired by Carmen Calvo, one of his deputies, Cadena Cope radio said.

Despite opposing the restrictions, the Madrid authorities urged residents to stay within the city limits, especially over the forthcoming three-day weekend for Spain’s National Day on October 12.

The court refused to ratify the restrictions on grounds they were imposed by the central government and not by the regional authorities. – Rappler.com

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