Spain declares state of emergency in Madrid to combat coronavirus

MADRID — Spain's government has declared a 15-day state of emergency to bring down Covid-19 infection rates in the capital after a court overturned a partial lockdown imposed a week ago.

The government announced the measure after an emergency Cabinet meeting on Friday to decide what to do about the Madrid region, which is witnessing one of Europe's most concerning coronavirus clusters.

The region's 14-day infection rate of 563 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents is more than twice Spain's national average of 256 and five times the European average rate of 113 for the week ending Sept. 27.

The capital has been at the center of a political row, with the center-right city authorities challenging the Socialist-led government's demands.

Cases are down and a state of emergency is unjustified, said city officials opposing the move.

Late last Friday, all non-essential movement in and out of Madrid and the other nine cities was banned, despite the opposition of local authorities, led by regional president Isabel Diaz Ayuso.

When the Madrid authorities' court challenge was successful on Thursday night, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez invoked constitutional powers he used to impose the original lockdown in March. — Agencies




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