SPAIN is de facto back in charge of the country’s biggest municipalities when it comes to COVID-19 policy.

Any town or city with more than 100,000 inhabitants is now in the hands of the central government when it comes to bringing back lockdown-style measures.

It comes after a two-day showdown between Health Minister Salvador Illa and Madrid leader Isabel Ayuso which resulted in the latter agreeing to close down 70% of the central region as long as the biggest cities around the country are judged on the same criteria going forward.

There are now three main criteria which will be used to evaluate the biggest municipalities – but how do Andalucia’s big cities and towns fare?

The southernmost region only has 12 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants – the eight provincial capitals plus Jerez de la Frontera and Algeciras in Cadiz, Marbella in Malaga and Dos Hermanas in Sevilla.

The first parameter that would cause a city to be considered for lockdown is an incidence rate of 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants or higher.

Currently none of the 12 cities in Andalucia have reached this milestone, in fact they all remain below 300.

And only three of them have an incidence rate above 200, with Marbella clocking 288.7, Cordoba 248.4 and Granada 212.9.

It means they immediately do not qualify to be considered for new lockdown measures.

Meanwhile, the other parameter, of having 35% of ICU beds taken up by COVID-19, is also not believed to be found in any of the 12 cities.

Indeed regionally, only around 11% of ICU beds are currently taken up by coronavirus patients.

The third parameter is that 10% of PCR tests performed come back positive, however that data for each city is not yet available.

Malaga is the Andalucian municipality of more than 100,000 people which has registered the highest number of cases since the start of the pandemic with 7,148.

It is followed by Sevilla with 4,323, Granada with 2,968, Cordoba with 2,893, Marbella with 2,553, Almeria with 1,9090, Jerez de la Frtonera with 1,150, Jaen with 1,083, Dos Hermanas with 665, Algeciras with 613, Cadiz with 572 and Huelva with 401.

Malaga has also seen the most deaths, recording a total of 180, followed by Sevilla with 162, Granada (128), Cordoba (57), Jerez de la Frontera (53), Jaen (47), Marbella (40), Almeria (33), Algeciras (27), Huelva (16), Cadiz (12) and Dos Hermanas (11).

Health minister Illa will meet with the autonomous regions today to agree on the effective handing back of control to the central government for their biggest municipalities.

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