Madrid lockdown looms
Residents of infection hotspot Madrid are to be barred from leaving except on essential trips under new rules to fight the coronavirus resurgence, Spain’s government said on Wednesday.
But regional authorities said the decision had no legal basis, Reuters reports, setting the stage for a political showdown in an area accounting for more than a third of Spain’s 133,604 new cases in the past two weeks.
“Madrid’s health is Spain’s health. Madrid is special,” Health Minister Salvador Illa told a news conference to announce the new regulations, due to come into force in days.
The capital city, with more than 3 million people, and nine surrounding municipalities with at least 100,000 inhabitants each, are to see borders closed to outsiders for non-essential visits, the government said.
People would be allowed to cross boundaries for work, school, doctors’ visits or shopping, but not for leisure.
Other measures include the closure of bars and restaurants at 11 p.m., from a previous curfew of 1 a.m., as well as shutting parks and playgrounds.
Social gatherings will be limited to six people.
Madrid has 735 cases per 100,000 people, one of the highest of any region in Europe and double Spain’s national rate.
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Madrid residents are set to be barred from leaving the city except on essential trips under new coronavirus restrictions announced by the Spanish government.
Here are the key developments from the last few hours:
- Experts warn virus is out of control in the UK. British health experts have admitted Covid-19 is out of control in the country as case numbers and hospital admissions rise despite a slew of new restrictions on social gatherings. “Things are definitely heading in the wrong direction,” the UK chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, told a government press conference, as a further 7,108 cases and 71 deaths were reported.
- Pandemic travel slump may cost 46 million jobs globally. The impact of the coronavirus on travel may cost as many as 46 million jobs globally, according to projections published by an aviation industry group.The Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) predicted that the travel slump and a slow recovery will threaten 4.8 million aviation workers and more than half of the 87.7 million total jobs supported directly or indirectly by the sector, in related leisure industries and supply chains.
- No clear link between school opening and Covid surge, study finds. Widespread reopening of schools after lockdowns and vacations is generally not linked to rising Covid-19 rates, a study of 191 countries has found, but lockdown closures will leave a 2020 “pandemic learning debt” of 300bn missed school days. The analysis, by the Geneva-based independent educational foundation Insights for Education, said 84% of those 300bn days would be lost by children in poorer countries, and warned that 711 million pupils were still out of school.
- Young people as diligent about Covid measures as older people, survey finds. Young people are as diligent about coronavirus hygiene routines as their older peers but also more stressed out by the pandemic and willing to give up a higher percentage of their income to stop it, according to a global survey that calls into question the stereotype of feckless youth driving up infection rates.
- The Italian Senate has been suspended after two members fell ill with Covid-19. Parliamentary activity was suspended after Marco Croatti and Francesco Mollame, from the ruling Five Star Movement, tested positive.
- The Czech Republic is to enter a state of emergency to control a surge in cases. Earlier, health minister Roman Prymula said the government would call the state of emergency for 30 days, and limit gatherings to 20 people outdoors and 10 people inside for at least the first two weeks.Audiences will also be banned from sports events, while secondary schools will be closed and medical students will be summoned to help in hospitals for at least 14 days as part of the measure.