A 15-day state of emergency has been ordered by the Spanish government, for its capital, Madrid. The step has been taken to bring down Covid-19 infection rates in the city.
The BBC reports that 7000 police officers are to enforce the restrictions imposed on Madrid and other nearby cities.
Centre-right authorities in Madrid had challenged the government’s demands. Last week, a court had overturned a partial lockdown imposed on Madrid. City officials, meanwhile, said that coronavirus cases had decreased and that a state of emergency was unjustified, with Madrid health minister Enrique Ruiz Escudero insisting that measures already in place were working and that the national government order was beyond comprehension.
All non-essential movement in and out of Madrid and the other nine cities was banned by the Spanish government last Friday, despite opposition from local authorities. Following their court challenge having been successful on Thursday night, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez acted quickly to impose the state of emergency ahead of a holiday weekend, with Monday being Spain’s national day.
The BBC reports that regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, had requested a postponement , but the prime minister was unwavering, saying, “public health must be protected now”. Ayouso was criticised for her approach to increasing virus numbers.
The state of emergency order brings back into force the measures brought in a week ago that were lifted by the court late on Thursday. They include places of worship limited to a third of normal attendance, and social gatherings restricted to six people, amongst other curbs. According to the BBC the new measures are nowhere near the tightness of the lockdown imposed by authorities in March.
Umm Muhammed Umar