Battle of lockdown powers in Spain as Madrid refuses Spanish government order

Spain is in a battle of lockdown powers as capital Madrid refuses to lockdown despite a government order to

Spain’s government announced residents of the capital city would be barred from leaving except on essential trips under new rules to fight the coronavirus second wave.

Although regional authorities said the decision had no legal basis after Madrid was hit by a third of the 133,604 new cases in the past two weeks.

Health chief Enrique Ruiz Escudero told a press conference the decision was not valid legally and insisted the COVID-19 situation in Madrid was improving.

“We have always anticipated the hospital capacity to contain this pandemic, and we’ve had several days for which the balance between discharges and admissions is favourable,” said the health minister  who continued ” The Spanish government is in a hurry to intervene in Madrid but not to defeat the virus.”

It comes after Health Minister Salvador Illa announced new regulations, due to come into force in days, saying: “Madrid’s health is Spain’s health. Madrid is special.”

The capital city, with more than 3 million people, and nine surrounding municipalities with at least 100,000 inhabitants each, are to see borders closed to outsiders for non-essential visits.

Residents of the City would be allowed to cross boundaries for work, school, doctors’ visits or shopping, but not for leisure or anything else.

Other measures include the closure of bars and restaurants at 11 pm, from a previous curfew of 1 am, as well as shutting parks and playgrounds. Social gatherings will be limited to six people.

Madrid has 735 cases per 100,000 people, one of the highest of any region in Europe and double Spain’s national rate.

The situation will now throw Spain into a political storm as the capital refuses the order.

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