Spanish Health Minister, Salvador Illa, announced at a news conference on Friday that the government is declaring a state of emergency in the Madrid region for 15 days.
This decision follows a court ruling overturning a government order a week ago that introduced new coronavirus restrictions in the capital.
The state of emergency will ensure that those measures stay in place, “the situation is the same as it was yesterday, only the legal form is different,” Illa said.
Here are some of the measures that will apply to nine municipalities of the Madrid region and include mobility and commercial restrictions:
- People will not be able to leave their cities or neighborhoods, except to go to work, to school, go to the doctor and a few other exceptions.
- Restaurants, shops, theaters and other establishments will be limited to a 50% of their capacity and will have to close their doors at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. local time in the case of restaurants and bars.
- Meetings are allowed with a maximum of 6 people.
The state of emergency declaration came at the start of a bank holiday weekend when normally more than a million Madrid residents would leave the area, but Illa said authorities don't want them potentially spreading the virus elsewhere in Spain.
Spanish Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, announced the “deployment of national police and civil guards to guarantee that the announced measures are complied with , more than 7,000 police officers and civil guards will be deployed immediately and check points will be put in place in the affected municipalities."
They can issue fines for non-compliance, he added.
The state of alarm cancels the measures announced by Madrid’s regional government earlier today. Regional health chief Enrique Ruiz Escudero, said at a news conference Friday morning that the region would continue with the Basic Health Zones, isolating only the areas and neighborhoods with 750 cases per 100,000 people in a 14-day -period.
Illa accused the Madrid regional government of “not doing anything”. He explained that the transmission levels in Madrid are “very high” and that hospitals are “at the risk of being overwhelmed”. “Patience has a limit, there is no one more blind than the one who does not want to see. It is important that the level of contagion in Madrid does not spread to the rest of the country”, he added.