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Madrid returns tonight after becoming the continent's worst infection hotspot


Madrid will be the first European capital to return to lockdown following new coronavirus restrictions imposed by the Spanish government

Around 4.8 million residents of the Spanish capital are not allowed to leave the area after the city has suffered one of the highest infection rates of any region in Europe with 850 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the World Health Organization.

You can see the new rules, which start at 10 p.m. on Friday The city limits are closed for non-essential travel. Parks and playgrounds are closed, gatherings are limited to six people, bars and restaurants must close at 11 p.m.

The measures ordered by the Spanish Ministry of Health come after Spain recorded a total of 789,932 coronavirus cases on Friday – an increase of 11,325 since Thursday.

Residents of the Spanish capital Madrid are not allowed to leave the area due to the new coronavirus restrictions imposed by the government. Pictured: A traveler walks through Adolfo Suarez-Madrid Barajas International Airport.

Madrid Ambulance Service (SUMMA) health workers conduct antigen tests for residents of Vallecas, Madrid

Madrid Ambulance Service (SUMMA) health workers conduct antigen tests for residents of Vallecas, Madrid

Sonny van den Holstein, owner of the Sanissimo restaurant, said: & # 39; & # 39;Madrilenos was angry about the political clashes between the central and regional government and concerned whether the measures would work.

“We've been in masks for eight months and no nightclubs or parties, and there's still contagion. What impact do these restrictions have then? & # 39;

"People are confused, they hesitate to go out … they are scared," he added when a customer called to cancel a reservation.

The conservatively led authority of the Madrid area reluctantly followed orders from the socialist led central government to ban travel other than school, work, health or shopping.

Madrid's bars and restaurants are famous for their nightly carousels and the usually lively stream of tourists. They have to close at 11:00 p.m. instead of 1:00 a.m. while restaurants, gyms, and stores cut their capacity in half.

Gatherings of more than six people will be prohibited indoors and outdoors, but parks and playgrounds can remain open this time.

The measures extend an already existing restriction in poorer parts of the city with high infection rates.

Other busy European cities have tightened measures in recent days, including limiting numbers in restaurants and requiring face masks in more places, but none have gone as far as Madrid.

The new block lasts at least 14 days and can be extended if necessary.

A man looks at the arrival screen of Adolfo Suarez-Madrid Barajas International Airport as the city prepares for a local lockdown

A man looks at the arrival screen of Adolfo Suarez-Madrid Barajas International Airport as the city prepares for a local lockdown

A team of health workers is preparing to take swabs from people in Vallecas, Madrid, as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the capital

A team of health workers is preparing to take swabs from people in Vallecas, Madrid, as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the capital

However, the conservative regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso has filed a legal lawsuit fearing economic damage and accusing the central government of having exceeded its mandate by ordering the measures.

Since Madrid's international airport, Barajas, is still open, Diaz Ayuso tweeted her anger about the Prime Minister: “From tomorrow you can come from Berlin to Madrid, but not from Parla. Thanks for the mess, Pedro Sanchez. & # 39;

In his appeal, Parla, a peripheral city south of Madrid, argues that the measures will not adequately address the pandemic and will cost the local economy € 750 million per week.

But Mr Sanchez said the only goal is to save lives and protect health. "All decisions are made on the basis of the scientists' citeria," he said at a summit in Brussels.

Under the new restrictions, city limits closed to non-essential travel and gatherings will be limited to six people. Pictured: people stand in line for an antigen test in Vallecas, Madrid

Under the new restrictions, city limits closed to non-essential travel and gatherings will be limited to six people. Pictured: people stand in line for an antigen test in Vallecas, Madrid

According to the World Health Organization, the Madrid region has the worst rate in Europe with 850 cases per 100,000 people.

Spain recorded a total of 789,932 coronavirus cases on Friday, up from 11,325 since Thursday. There were 32,086 deaths.

Daily deaths are now at their highest level since early May, but well below the late March record of nearly 900.

Last month in Spain National Health Minister Salvador Illa said the government is recommending tougher measures, including a partial lockdown, across Madrid and its residents.

He also said that the frequency of contagion threshold to decide which suburbs to include should be lowered to 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, roughly double the national average.

Mr Illa told reporters, "Abbreviations were not valid." I don't want to hide that very difficult, complicated weeks are ahead of us, but we will succeed if we do what we have to do. "

However, Madrid chairwoman Isabel Diaz Ayuso rejected calls for a new lockdown in the Spanish capital, saying "the solution is not a total restriction" and asked the Spanish government for more help.

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