MADRID has finally surrendered to the national government’s demands to close down the majority of its cities.
It comes after a tense few days and two extraordinary meetings which almost ended in deadlock again tonight.
But regional leader Isabel Ayuso is expected to agree to the Government’s proposals after they met her demands for every town or city in the country to be treated equally.
It means going forward, the same parameters for what calls for lockdown-style measures will be applied to all municipalities in Spain with more than 100,000 inhabitants.
A total of 4.8 million Madrid residents will see their towns closed down by Thursday or Friday, after the agreement is voted on in Madrid tomorrow.
It means more than 70% of the central region will see their mobility seriously reduced, with borders closed save for those going to work, the doctor or for other exceptions.
Shut down criteria
Health Minister Salvador Illa explained in a press conference tonight that the tighter restrictions will be applied when a town or city has an incidence rate of 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants or higher.
Additionally, more than 10% of PCR tests performed should be coming back positive and the intensive care units should have more than 35% of their beds occupied by coronavirus patients.
Once these milestones are passed, measures to limit mobility, social interactions and opening hours will be implemented immediately, warned Illa.
However apart from Pamplona, none of the 63 other cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants has an incidence rate of 500 or more.
It means the new rules have done little more than to save face for Ayuso, although they may prove relevant in the future.
The national government is now therefore, in practice, in control of the COVID-19 response for the country’s largest cities.
Regions will now only be in charge of COVID-19 policy in towns which have less than 100,000 residents.
The Interterritorial Council will have to ratify the agreement and its details tomorrow, but there are no surprises on the cards and it is expected to pass.
It is assumed that once approved, Illa will want to implement the closures in Madrid within hours.
Before the weekend, at the latest, mobility will most likely be restricted across Madrid’s nine biggest municipalities; Mostoles, Fuenlabrada, Getafe, Alcorcon, Torrejon de Ardoz, Alcala de Henares, Leganes, Parla and Alcobendas
The agreement is hoped to be received well by the other regions, which have been demanding blanket rules for all communities from the offset.
In Andalucia, it means the national government can impose lockdown-style measures in Marbella, Malaga city, Sevilla city and anywhere else with a population of 100,000 or more.
However no town or city in the region currently meets the criteria laid out in today’s agreement.