SPAIN has imposed a state of alarm in Madrid to grant itself the powers to close down the majority of the central region for the next 15 days.
It comes after weeks of disagreements between Madrid and Moncloa as the former became the epicentre of the second COVID-19 wave in Spain.
Regional leader Isabel Ayuso has fought the closing down of around 70% of the region, affecting more than five million people, every step of the way.
But with the declaration of the state of alarm, prime minister Pedro Sanchez has firmly and swiftly put the central government back in control.
It means the capital city and its nine largest municipalities will be back under lockdown-style measures from 3pm today.
It means bars and restaurants must close by 11pm and residents can only leave their municipality under exceptional circumstances.
There had been a sense of urgency to close down much of the region in a bid to stop people heading across the country to celebrate the bank holiday weekend.
Ayuso wanted to more targeted confinements, focusing instead on 51 health districts and not imposing municipality-wide border closures.
But her plan was far less restrictive than the one ordered by Sanchez as while it ‘reduced activity and capacity’ in cities of 100,000 people or more, it completely ruled out closing down the borders between cities.
This was of increasing concern given the bank holiday weekend and the risk of of hordes of people moving around the region and the country to see family and friends.