The Spanish government has announced new coronavirus restrictions to be implemented in the next 48 hours which will largely force Madrid into a form of lockdown.
The new measures, agreed by simple majority after a meeting between the government and the heads of the various Spanish autonomous regions, were announced by Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa during a news conference on Wednesday.
According to Illa, the restrictions apply to municipalities with more than 500 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days, where the number of positive cases surpasses 10% of all PCR tests or regions that have an intensive care unit occupation above 35%.
Some context: There are currently 10 municipalities which fall under the criteria, including Madrid and people living in the wider Madrid autonomous region.
“Madrid is special because the health of Madrid is the health of Spain,” Illa said as he announced the new measures, calling the situation there “complex” and “worrying.”
The new restrictions require people to stay at home except to go to work, classes, and to meet legal obligations or due to extreme circumstances.
Shops, bars and restaurants will be forced to reduce their capacity by 50% and to close earlier.
Gatherings will remain restricted to no more than six people, in both public or private spaces.
The move comes after a steady increase in the number of coronavirus infections in the Madrid area over the past couple of months and, according to Illa, was approved with 13 votes in favor, one abstention and five votes against. Among the regions that voted against are Catalonia, Andalusia, Galicia, the north African enclave Ceuta and the capital Madrid.