Spain’s government has ordered the lockdown of 5 million people in Madrid after spiking COVID-19 cases.
Under the new restrictions, residents will not be allowed to leave the area unless they have to make an essential journey.
The regions are: Alcalá de Henares, Alcobendas, Alcorcón, Fuenlabrada, Getafe, Leganés, Madrid, Móstoles, Parla y Torrejón de Ardoz.
It comes as Madrid has been the source of a third of all Spain’s 133,604 cases diagnosed in the last two weeks.
The capital registered 735 coronavirus cases per 100,000 population in yesterday’s daily update, based on data from the last two weeks – the highest in the country.
Yesterday also saw a majority of Spain’s regional governments, who are jointly in charge of national healthcare, voted in criteria for new restrictions.
They agreed that 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a two-week period, 35% COVID-19 patient occupancy in ICUs and positive results in 10% (or over) of PCR tests.
(The measures are only applicable to areas with more than 100,000 residents.)
Despite the new measures, Madrid’s government has rebelled claiming they are not ‘legally valid’.
Madrid’s regional government – controlled by conservative opposition to the ruling PSOE coalition – did not vote in favour of restrictions.
They have argued the lockdown is not legally valid.
Madrid health chief Enrique Ruiz Escudero did not rule out fighting the lockdown in court.
He said: “These decisions concern fundamental rights and freedoms of millions of people. The minister has taken advantage of a meeting to impose decisions that affect many Spaniards.”
The Madrid regional government had chosen not to put the city and surrounding areas into lockdown, instead issuing restrictions in 45 basic healthcare areas – not the nine central municipalities in breach of agreed health criteria.
Spain’s central government said the restrictions were not sufficient, and recommended an end to all unnecessary movement across the city.
Under the proposed lockdown, Madrid’s borders will close to visitors for non-essential trips.
Residents will be allowed to cross the border for work, doctors’ visits and shopping.
Playgrounds and parks will shut.
Social gatherings will be limited to six people.