Members of the Spanish Military Emergency Unit wearing protective clothing prepare to disinfect the Lope de Vega cultural center in the Vallecas district, where rapid tests for Covid-19 were carried out on residents of the area in Madrid on September 30. Oscar Del Pozo / AFP / Getty Images
The Spanish government has announced that it will introduce new coronavirus restrictions in the next 48 hours that will largely force Madrid into some sort of lockdown.
The new measures, agreed by a simple majority after a meeting between the government and the heads of the different Spanish autonomous regions, were announced by the Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa during a press conference on Wednesday.
Illa said the restrictions apply to communities with more than 500 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days where the number of positive cases exceeds 10% of all PCR tests or regions with an intensive care unit above 35%.
A context: Currently, 10 municipalities fall under the criteria, including Madrid and people living in the autonomous region of Madrid.
“Madrid is special because the health of Madrid is the health of Spain,” said Illa as he announced the new measures, describing the situation there as “complex” and “worrying”.
The new restrictions require people to stay at home except for work, class, and legal obligations or because of extreme circumstances.
Shops, bars and restaurants will be forced to reduce their capacity by 50% and close earlier.
Meetings are limited to no more than six people in public or private spaces.
The move came after a steady increase in the number of coronavirus infections in the Madrid region in recent months and, according to Illa, was adopted with 13 votes in favor, one abstention and five against. The regions that voted against include Catalonia, Andalusia, Galicia, the North African enclave of Ceuta and the capital Madrid.