Spain recommends for Madrid to go into total lockdown

Nellie Chapman
September 27, 2020

Antonio Zapatero, deputy health chief of the Madrid region, said he wants to continue working with the central government to contain the outbreaks but more time is needed to see if the current restrictions are having any effect.

"I would recommend residents of Madrid to limit to the maximum their movements, that they scrupulously respect the measures dictated by the health authorities in the region and minimize their movements to what is essential and their contacts to those closest to them", Health Minister Salvador Illa said during an interview with radio Cadena Ser.

The Madrid region has ordered a lockdown in 45 areas where the contagion rate is above 1,000 cases per 100,000 people.

But the measures fell well short of a demand by the central government, which had urged the region to impose restrictions across the entire city. But after restrictions were totally lifted on June 21, the pandemic has surged again.

Over the past week, Spain has registered the highest number of new cases within the European Union with a rate of almost 300 per 100,000 inhabitants - but in the Madrid region, the figure is now more than 700 per 100,000.

"We've chose to formally request logistical help from the military to install (hospital) tents, carry out tests and disinfection tasks in each of the areas under restrictions", Aguado said on Wednesday.

The Spanish capital accounts for roughly one third of the country's COVID-19 cases.

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Speaking to AFPTV, Diana Llorens, who works at the intensive care unit at Madrid's Ramon y Cajal hospital, said the situation had left medics feeling "frustrated, jaded, exhausted and afraid of going back to what we suffered through in March: stressful, endless shifts".

Governments are fighting back with tougher restrictions.

The regional government of Madrid, which is responsible for health care, also reduced the maximum size of permitted social gatherings across the entire region from ten to six.

"The battle against the virus is not in confining, it is in primary healthcare, where we can test for the positive and negative so we can confine (just) the people who are truly infected", said retiree Nieves Marcos from the Usera district, one of those under partial lockdown.

Brazil now has the world's second highest death toll after the United States - almost 140,000 fatalities - and is still battling to bring the virus under control.

The carnival joins a growing list of events disrupted by the pandemic. Now there are around 10,000 new infections reported each day.

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