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Madrid Announces New Restrictions On Social Gatherings To Curb Coronavirus Spread

Under the new measures, effective once the state of alarm expires on Saturday afternoon, meetings between midnight and 6am will be limited to people from the same household

The Madrid regional government on Friday announced new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus when the current state of alarm comes to an end on Saturday

Some of the measures will apply to the entire region while others will exclusively affect 32 basic healthcare areas with a high incidence rate of the virus

While Madrid stopped short of introducing a nighttime curfew as three other Spanish regions have done regional health chief Enrique Ruiz Escudero announced drastic restrictions on social activity particularly on nighttime activity

Under the new rules bars and restaurants will have to close by midnight and will not be able to accept new patrons after 11pm

Under the new rules that affect the entire region socializing with people outside of ones household will be prohibited between midnight and 6am both in private and public spaces Outside of these hours social gatherings will be limited to a maximum of six people

Bars and restaurants will have to close by midnight and will not be able to accept new patrons after 11pm under the current state of alarm they must close by 11pm Capacity will be limited to 50 in indoor restaurants and 75 at sidewalk cafes

Consumption at bar counters will also be prohibited Capacity at theaters and cinemas as well as indoor sports facilities will be reduced to 50 Parks and gardens will be shut between midnight and 6am

The Madrid government will continue with its plan against Covid19 which is based on scientific criteria said Ruiz Escudero at a government press conference on Friday adding the next few weeks will be difficult

The Madrid government will also place 32 basic healthcare areas under a perimetral lockdown meaning residents in these areas which are smaller than a city district and can include several primary healthcare centers will not be able to leave or enter unless it is for essential reasons such as for work to access care services or in the case of an emergency

In the affected areas bars and restaurants will have to close by 10pm childrens playgrounds will be closed and capacity in stores reduced to 50 The new restrictions will come into effect on Monday and last for 14 days

In the city of Madrid they will apply to the following areas Núñez Morgado Chamartín district Guzmán el Bueno Chamberí San Andrés San Cristóbal and El Espinillo Villaverde Entrevías Peña Prieta Alcalá de Guadaira Rafael Alberti Numancia and Pozo del Tío Raimundo Puente de Vallecas Daroca Ciudad Lineal VinaterosTorito Pavones and Vandel Moratalaz Puerta del Ángel Latina Virgen de Begoña Fuencarral and Infanta Mercedes and Villaamil Tetuán

A total of 671259 residents or 10 of the population of the Madrid region will be placed under a perimetral lockdown on Monday
Outside of Madrid the perimetral lockdown will affect the healthcare areas of Collado Villalba in the municipality of Collado Villalba Guadarrama Guadarrama Majadahonda Majadahonda San Juan de la Cruz Pozuelo de Alarcón San Blas and Pintores Parla Colmenar Viejo Norte Colmenar Viejo Morata de Tajuña Morata de Tajuña Las Fronteras and Brújula Torrejón de Ardoz El Boalo Manzanares el Real Villarejo de Salvanes Villarejo de Salvanes and Colmenar de Oreja Colmenar de Oreja

These areas which are home to 671259 residents or 10 of the population of the Madrid region account for 155 of all confirmed coronavirus cases detected in the last two weeks

Before the Spanish government declared a state of alarm in the region on October 9 in a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus the Madrid administration had placed 45 healthcare areas under a perimetral lockdown a move the central Health Ministry argued did not go far enough

In that instance the region confined areas where the 14day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100000 inhabitants was above 1000 In this case the regional government has lowered the threshold to 500 cases According to European guidelines this figure should not exceed 50 cases per 100000 inhabitants

The question of how to contain the coronavirus pandemic has been the source of an ongoing dispute between the Spanish government headed by a centerleft coalition of the Socialist Party PSOE and junior partner Unidas Podemos and the Madrid government run by a centerright alliance of the Popular Party PP and Ciudadanos Citizens propped up by farright Vox

The Spanish governments decision to declare a state of alarm in the region which saw nine cities including the Spanish capital placed under a perimetral lockdown and subject to other restrictions on social gatherings was fiercely opposed by the Madrid administration which claimed the restrictions would hurt businesses

Following Madrids announcement Health Minister Salvador Illa said the government respected and supported the new restrictions although he argued the threshold for applying perimetral lockdown should be lowered to at least 100 cases per 100000 inhabitants

Support for curfew
Earlier in the week Enrique Ruiz Escudero had said the Madrid government was considering introducing a nighttime curfew in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus When asked why this measure was not taken at a press conference on Friday the regional health chief replied that it was up to the Spanish government to provide a legal framework for it to do so

Three Spanish regions Andalusia Valencia and Castilla y León will introduce curfews but there is no national consensus on the move and the legal tools to do so are still a source of debate

The Spanish Cabinet can approve a state of alarm for 15 days after which time it needs to be extended by Spains lower house the Congress of Deputies

The central government does not have an absolute majority in Congress meaning it would need the support of other parties to extend the emergency measure beyond this period

Health Minister Illa said on Friday that the government is looking for clear support from Congress and regional governments that if it were to introduce a curfew under the state of alarm it would have enough votes to keep the measure in place for longer than 15 days

The leader of the centerright Ciudadanos Citizens Inés Arrimadas informed Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Friday that her party would support the decision

Meanwhile authorities in the Basque Country and Melilla have asked the central government to declare a state

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