MADRID’S nearly seven million residents have been urged not to leave their homes unless they have to following a rise in coronavirus cases.
The plea came as 855,000 people in the region were put under a renewed lockdown and told they will face fines if they leave their neighbourhoods without good reason.
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The Madrid region is currently accounting for more than a third of all new coronavirus cases in Spain.
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez met Madrid’s president, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, face-to-face for the first time in months on Monday to co-ordinate the desperate fight to bring the figures down and avoid the sort of hospital saturation experienced at the height of the crisis in late March and early April.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Madrid region has registered 204,730 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 15,891 deaths.
The UK government’s chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance has said the UK’s rise in cases is closely following the trends in countries like France and Spain.
Spain’s Health Ministry notified 31,428 new Covid-19 cases between Friday and Monday, with 168 deaths at the weekend and 311 in the past seven days.
Madrid registered 11,991 new coronavirus cases over the weekend, more than a third of the national total.
The Madrid mini-lockdown affects 26 areas spread across six districts in the city and another 11 in municipalities which make up the larger Madrid region but are just outside city limits.
They include Getafe in the south and Alcobendas, where actress Penelope Cruz was born.
In all the areas where peoples’ movements are being limited there are more than 1,000 Covid-19 infections per 100,000 people.
More than 855,000 people are registered as living in the zones, around 13 per cent of the Madrid region’s population.
Certain people, including those travelling to work, are exempt from the measures.
Bars and restaurants are having to close at 10pm and the maximum number of customers has been slashed by half.
Children’s parks have also had to shut.
Cinemas, libraries, and theatres remain open but the number of people able to use them has also been reduced.
Speaking on Spanish radio station Cadena Ser this morning, Mr Illa urged people everywhere in Madrid and not just the mini-lockdown areas to restrict their movements.
He said: “I would recommend that the people of Madrid restrict their movements to only that which is essential and limit their contact to the closest people they live with.”
Madrid mayor Jose Luis Martinez Almeida added: “We cannot allow the measures taken in 37 health areas not to work.
“Movement should be limited to that which is essential.”
The Catalan government today also recommended its citizens should avoid travelling to Madrid unless it was “strictly necessary.”
Catalan president Quim Torra said temperature checks would take place at train stations and airports in Spain’s north-east region on travellers arriving from Madrid.