In Spain, the politico-legal battle around the containment of Madrid is sowing chaos

In front of La Paz Hospital in Madrid, October 7.

Yes. No. Perhaps. Under the increasingly incredulous and disconcerted look of the people of Madrid, the vaudeville of the chaotic management of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Spanish capital experienced a new turnaround on Thursday, October 8. Six days after being decreed, the closure of the city, where it was no longer possible to enter or leave except for professional, educational or health reasons, was overturned by the higher court of justice in Madrid.

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In their decision, the six magistrates emphasize that the restrictions imposed on Madrid and on nine nearby municipalities “Affect fundamental rights and freedoms”. However, these cannot be limited by the law invoked by the Ministry of Health. They do not hesitate to criticize the government and recall that as the kingdom is no longer on alert, a new legal framework should have been approved. The closure of bars and restaurants at 11 p.m. and the reduction of their capacity by 50% were maintained, however, as was the ban on meetings of more than six people.

As a long three-day weekend looms, on the occasion of the national holiday, October 12, the director of the pandemic coordination center, epidemiologist Fernando Simon, could only urge Madrilenians to show responsibility “ and not to go to their second home in the countryside, or to vacation on the coast. According to the national press, the government of Andalusia, a region also plagued by a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases, has asked the Madrid authorities to discourage travel.

Epicenter of the second pandemic wave

“We ask the people of Madrid not to leave Madrid”, indeed insisted the president of the autonomous community of Madrid, the conservative Isabelle Diaz Ayuso, a few hours after the court decision. Yet it is she who is at the origin of the appeal filed in court against the closure of the capital. The local leader of the People’s Party (PP), who is not except for a contradiction, has pledged measures “Sensible, fair and balanced” in order to compensate for the end of “Perimeter confinement” in the capital. But overnight, head of government Pedro Sanchez announced an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Friday morning to declare a state of alert in Madrid.

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Epicenter of the second pandemic wave, the capital has also become the scene of a fierce political battle between the Spanish government, tired of waiting for a firm reaction from the region to the increase in cases and hospitalizations, and the community of Madrid, eager to preserve the economy by confining only neighborhoods where the incidence is more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over fourteen days.

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