Spain has recently risen to the top of European corona cases, and now the capital, Madrid, intends to restrict the movement of some of its residents.
The restriction mostly applies to the southern parts of the city, which are densely populated and whose inhabitants belong to lower income categories on average. They are home to 850,000 people, or about 13% of the population of the Madrid metropolitan area.
People living under restrictions are not allowed to leave their area of residence other than for work, health care or to take children to school. Enclosed areas must also not be entered from outside. Access to parks and public places will be restricted, gatherings will be limited to six people and all commercial operators will have to close their doors by ten in the evening.
– We are concerned that, according to the data we have seen, the number of infections is twice and the number of hospital admissions is three times higher than the national average, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a TV interview on Saturday.
Sanchez also said no nationwide curfew is currently being considered.
Spain has the highest number of infections in Europe, at 640,000, of which as many as 141,000 come from the previous two weeks. There have been exactly 300 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks. According to the European Agency for Communicable Diseases, the corresponding comparison figure in Finland is about 13. The disease situation in Spain is most serious in the capital.
In some parts of southern Madrid, there have been more than a thousand infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
Restrictions sparked protests from residents on Sunday. Demonstrator signs called for an end to “class-based” travel bans, among other things.
– We want sufficient action to ensure that we are protected in these working-class areas. We don’t have a lot of health centers. Many people do not have an employment contract as a condition for them to be at peace in quarantine, a protester living in Vallecas Vanesa said according to Reuters.
Regional Director of Madrid Isabel Diaz Ayuso was the target of protesters’ anger. Diaz Ayuso aroused outrage when he said “immigrant lifestyles” were partly to blame for the increase in infections.
He is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Sanchez on Monday. The meeting is seen as a sign that the central government is not satisfied, let alone confident, that the Madrid regional government will be able to cope with the epidemic.
Mayor Jose Luis Martínez-Almeida tried to curb the situation by saying that it was not meant to discriminate against the poor.
– There are no first and second class residents. We have to keep one, he wrote on Twitter.
According to AFP, one in five of Madrid’s hospital sites is currently used by coronary patients.