CORONAVIRUS

Madrid will close its borders for 10 days in early December

Mobility will be restricted in the region between the 4th and 13th to prevent mass transit during two back-to-back holidays

Madrid's Gran Vía on October 24.
Madrid's Gran Vía on October 24.Santi Burgos

The Madrid region is going to close its borders during the December holiday week, as it did for the recent All Saints and Almudena fiestas. December 8 is a national holiday in Spain, while December 7 is a holiday in all regions except Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia and the Basque Country. Under normal circumstances, this would be a time when many Spaniards take a holiday and travel, for example, to second residences in other parts of the country.

During the second wave of the coronavirus, the Madrid regional government – headed by the conservative Popular Party (PP) and center-right Ciudadanos (Citizens), and propped up by far-right Vox – has avoided such perimetral lockdowns for longer than is “strictly necessary,” in the words of the premier, Isabel Díaz Ayuso. As such, unlike other regions that closed for longer, Madrid only shut down on the weekend days and the actual holiday themselves in October and November. But this time around, the period in question will be longer, and no one will be able to enter or leave the region between December 4 and 13.

In the meantime, the regional government will be leaving the nighttime curfew of midnight to 6am in place, ahead of the Christmas season. “We want to get [to Christmas] in the best conditions possible,” said the region’s deputy healthcare chief, Antonio Zapatero.

Healthcare area lockdowns

The Madrid government has also announced that it will increase the number of basic healthcare areas in the region that will be subject to perimetral lockdowns due to their coronavirus data. From 12am on Monday November 12, and for a period of 14 days, Vicálvaro-Artilleros in Vicálvaro and La Elipa in Ciudad Lineal, in Madrid capital; Cuzco, Castilla-La Nueva and Alicante, in Fuenlabrada; and La Moraleja, in Alcobendas, will all see mobility restricted.

A number of other healthcare areas in the region are already under such restrictions, and seven of these will soon see the measures lifted, Madrid’s general director of Public Health, Elena Andradas, announced on Friday. These are Barrio del Puerto and Doctor Tamames, in Coslada; Pintores in Parla; and in Madrid capital, Núñez Morgado in Chamartín, Puerta del Ángel in Latina, Villaamil in Tetuán, and El Pardo and Virgen de Begoña in Fuencarral.

“Madrid is going to continue to be strict and will continue to adopt measures of prudence and will try to implement measures so that the virus does not develop,” said Zapatero on Wednesday in an interview with Antena 3.

According to Health Ministry data, the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants has been falling for weeks, and on Thursday came in at 297. “This is the first time it fell below 300,” explained Zapatero this morning. The current average across Spain is 436.

The pressure on the region’s hospitals has also fallen, with the number of patients falling this week below the 2,000-mark, and the number of intensive care unit (ICU) patients also dropping under 400.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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