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Spain's regions vote on Easter border lockdowns to prevent a fourth wave of Covid-19

Police checkpoint. File photograph.
Police checkpoint. File photograph. / SUR
  • The Public Health Commission, in which all the autonomous regions and cities and the Ministry of Health are represented has proposed to close the perimeters of all regions and limit night mobility from 26 March to 9 April

There is unlikley to be any travel allowed between the regions at Easter, after Spain's Public Health Commission, in which all the autonomous regions and cities and the Ministry of Health are represented, agreed to proposals this Thursday (4 March) to close the perimeters of all regions from Friday, 26 March until Friday, 9 April.

The commission gave the go-ahead to the document presented by Ministry of Health to try to prevent Easter Week from unleashing a fourth wave of the coronavirus. However, this plan must be ratified next Wednesday by the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (CISNS).

There will not be unanimity as the Community of Madrid regional government of Isabel Díaz Ayuso refuses both to advance the curfew (currently set in the city at 11 pm) and to close its borders.

The Public Health Commission document also calls on people to avoid "unnecessary trips" and urges the regions "not to lower the alert level" from the two weeks prior to the start of Easter" although the indicators are favourable" and "maintain the established measures”. It also prohibits mass gatherings such as processions or home meetings between non-cohabitants.

For now, the central government has ruled out reinstating a special emergency decree for Madrid because Ayuso's refusal to order the perimeter closure of the region would have no practical consequence if the rest of the regions close their borders.

Some see the position of the Madrilenian leader as "institutional insubordination" and "irresponsible".

"There can be no Easter"

Carmen Calvo, the 'number 2' of PM Pedro Sánchez said, “After year of sacrifice we have one last effort left. There can be no Easter. It is for our health and our lives, but also for the economy."

She defended the suitability of the perimeter closures for 14 days, the restrictions on mobility, curfews and the prohibition of celebrations recommended by the Public Health Commission in the document that will be presented for voting on by the regions at next Wednesday’s meeting of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System.

However the Community of Madrid’s president, Díaz Ayuso, maintains her position. “Spain has had measures of these types since November and they have not prevented a third wave. What's more, the autonomous regions that have been closed these months have had worse infection data," said Díaz Ayuso this Thursday.