Madrid extends lockdown, but not enough for central govt

Madrid’s regional government expanded the number of areas under partial lockdown Friday in a move now affecting a million people, but ignoring a central government plea for restrictions across the capital.

Antonio Zapatero, the region’s deputy health chief, said the restrictions, which come into effect on Monday, would affect 167,000 people who will not be able to leave their district except for work, school or medical reasons although they will be able to move freely within their area.

He also recommended that all of the region’s 6.6 million residents “avoid unnecessary movement” as authorities race to slow the spread of the virus in Spain’s worst-hit region.

Such measures have already been imposed on another 850,000 people since Monday, with Zapatero saying they had targeted areas with an incidence of 1,000 cases per 100,00 people.

But the measures fell well short of a demand by the central government, which had urged the region to impose restrictions across the entire city.

Speaking at the same time as Zapatero in a separate news conference, Health Minister Salvador Illa said the government had “proposed extending (the restrictions) to the whole of the city of Madrid, as well as surrounding areas with more than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants”.

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