Spanish experts say Madrid restrictions are too little too late

Spanish experts say Madrid restrictions are too little too late”

"Playing politics with the health of citizens is the most despicable thing I have seen in my life", said Luisa, a saleswoman, blaming right-wing politicians for prioritising profit, outside an underground transport station in Madrid.

Spain's government said on Wednesday that residents of Madrid have been told they can not leave except on essential trips under new rules to fight against the coronavirus resurgence.

And he thought the restrictions on seating capacity in bars and restaurants - reduced to 50 percent indoors and 60 percent at terraces - should have been greater.

"Madrilenos" were exasperated at political wrangling between the central and regional governments, and anxious about whether the measures would work.

People will be allowed to cross municipal boundaries to go to work or school, visit the doctor or go shopping, but must remain within the city for leisure activities, according to the agreement.

Bars and restaurants will have to close from 11 pm, and parks and playgrounds will be closed for the duration of the lockdown.

The city's borders will also be closed to outsiders for non-necessary visits under the new measures for large municipalities with high coronavirus infection rates.

More news: Donald, Melania Trump in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus

Although Madrid will go back into lockdown, it won't be as harsh as during the pandemic's first wave, when people were confined to their homes for more than six weeks from mid-March.

Various others of Europe's busiest cities have tightened measures in past days, including limiting numbers in restaurants and making face masks compulsory in more place, to counter the resurgence of coronavirus cases.

But the wider restrictions announced by Mr Illa see the Socialist-led central government override the regional authority after weeks of fighting over what should be done.

Madrid region head Isabel Diaz Ayuso opposes the restrictions and has launched a legal appeal.

A threshold of 500 cases per 100,000 people was far "too high", said Ildefonso Hernández of the Spanish Public Health Society (Sespas). "All decisions are made based on scientists" citeria, ' he said at a summit in Brussels.

With 859 cases per 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organization, the Madrid region is the worst COVID-19 hotspot in Europe and the central government, backed by a number of other regions, chose to step in after a bitter spat with local authorities.

Spain recorded a total of 789,932 coronavirus cases as of Friday, a rise of 11,325 since Thursday.

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