The Spanish Government has approved new drastic measures which will involve police patrols around borders in Madrid. The new draconian measures are set to come into force immediately from 3pm on Friday. Spain has the highest number of coronavirus infections in Europe and the latest restrictions come amid a power struggle between the Government and the Spanish court.
Just 24 hours ago, a Spanish court struck down a government order imposing a partial coronavirus lockdown on the Spanish capital.
Since the summer, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has allowed the 17 Spanish autonomous regions to respond independently to local outbreaks.
However, a surge in cases across the capital has prompted the Government to take widespread action and raise the threat level.
An emergency cabinet meeting was held this morning and chaired by the Vice President of the Government, Carmen Calvo.
Officials stressed the need for decisive action ahead of the upcoming three-day bank holiday weekend – where widespread travel was expected in and out of Madrid.
Ruiz Escudero, Health Councillor of Madrid said Spanish health minister Salvador Illa left authorities with no choice but to adhere to the new rules.
Mr Escudero said: “He left us few options because the only thing he proposed was the state of alarm.
“I think it is a decision that the Government had taken for days because it did not give more options.”
Mr Escudero explained local leaders had already advised residents not to make unnecessary travel arrangements prior to the new restrictions and it has been effective in suppressing the virus.
He added: “We have always asked Madrid citizens to avoid unnecessary trips. We must bet on their responsibility.
“And something that seems that the Government of Spain forgets is that the data backs us. We are not stable, we are descending, the curve is going down.”
The Government outlined its plans earlier in the week and u
nder the Health Ministry’s order, residents in Madrid would barred from leaving the area, including in nine towns.
Regional government chief Isabel Diaz Ayuso had opposed the order, saying it would ravage the region’s economy, also arguing the ministry had no power to impose such curbs on a region.
On Thursday the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid, threw out the order and branded the restrictions an “interference by public authorities in citizens’ fundamental rights without the legal mandate to support it”.
This is a developing news story, more to follow.
(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)