HEALTH minister Salvador Illa has advised any Spanish city – including Madrid – to shut down if it has a coronavirus incidence rate of 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants or higher.

The health leader called for the entire capital city to be closed down during a press conference today following weeks of exploding COVID-19 figures which has seen the central region’s incidence rate soar past 700.

Illa also asked residents to avoid going to bars and restaurants and for those establishments to reduce their terrace capacity to 50%.

But the central government has stopped short of enforcing a state of alarm, leaving the decisions up to regional leaders.

Other cities which could be closed off due to having an incidence rate above 500/100,000 are Fuenlabrada (Madrid), Lucena (Cordoba), Getafe (Madrid) and Palencia (Castilla y Leon).

“The Government is the one that gives the recommendations, but it is up to the autonomous communities to follow them,” Illa said.

It comes as Madrid has extended lockdown-style measures to eight new areas, which will come into effect from Monday.

The new areas are Panaderas, in Fuenlabrada; Doctor Trueta and Miguel Servet, in Alcorcon; Campo de la Paloma and Rafael Alberti, in Puente de Vallecas; Garcia Noblejas in Ciudad Lineal; Vicalvaro-Artilleros, in Vicalvaro; and Orcasitas, in Usera.

It means there are now 45 restricted areas in the Community of Madrid, affecting 1,025,574 people, or 15.4% of its population.

The new order will tell residents to avoid any unnecessary travel both in restricted areas and throughout the region.

More to follow…

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