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Lockdown tensions between central government and regional authorities are not confined to the UK.
On 9 October, Spain’s Socialist-led coalition government was forced to declare a state of emergency to put Madrid and eight surrounding towns into a limited lockdown after the regional government flip-flopped, protested and mounted a legal challenge to the restrictions.
As the number of new cases in and around the capital Madrid reached 563.8 per 100,000 people – compared with a national average of 256.8 – the central government eventually lost patience with Madrid’s regional government, which is led by Isabel Díaz Ayuso of the conservative People’s party.
A nationwide state of emergency was also used to pave the way for the far more stringent lockdown that saw Spaniards ordered to remain at home for three months during the first wave of the virus in the spring and early summer.
Ayuso, who insisted that her administration was bringing the epidemiological situation under control, has argued that the partial lockdown would inflict further damage on Madrid’s already battered economy.
She had also questioned the need to extend the national lockdown in May, saying: “People get run over every day but that doesn’t mean we ban cars.”
The regional health minister of Madrid, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, described the state of emergency as “an unjustified attack on the people of Madrid”.
But the central government was unmoved. Spain’s normally mild-mannered health minister, Salvador Illa, accused Ayuso of doing nothing, adding: “We can sit on our hands or we can stop down the virus. Politics is about serving people and stopping the virus.”
Under the partial confinement, people are allowed to enter or exit the affected areas only on work, school or medical grounds or for other pressing reasons. Public and private gatherings are limited to six people, and bars and restaurants must operate at 50% of their interior capacity and close by 11pm.
The state of emergency in Madrid is due to expire on Saturday and the regional government has suggested it could be replaced with a curfew.
Other Spanish regions have decided to impose their own – far tougher – counter measures. Bars and restaurants in Catalonia have been ordered shut for the rest of the month while the northern region of Navarre has announced that a two-week lockdown will come into effect from Thursday in an attempt to slow a surge in Covid-19 cases in the area.
Spain recorded almost 38,000 new cases on Monday and has now logged almost 975,000 in total.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Lockdown conflict between regional and national authorities in Spain | World news