More areas of the Madrid region set to face restrictions in coming days

A Local Police officer checks on bus passengers in a controlled area of the capital this week.
A Local Police officer checks on bus passengers in a controlled area of the capital this week. / EP
  • The regional and national governments are cooperating more fully and troops have been offered if needed, despite criticism from the Left

Residents in Madrid and its surrounding area have been getting the message for the last few days that the 37 health-centre catchment areas partially locked down last Monday would not be the last.

The regional government has repeatedly said it might extend measures to more neighbourhoods, although the possibility of closing the Madrid region's borders was also being mentioned.

On Wednesday, the regional government said it was "evaluating putting restrictions on all the devolved region" similar to those in the spring, due to the "sustained increase" in the pandemic in Madrid in the last few weeks.

However regional health officials pointed to the number of cases in the capital area appearing to stabilise later in the week, suggesting that just local restrictions would come in in some 16 more areas from Monday, where the rate of contagion measured through tests was above 1,000 per 100,000 people in the last two weeks.

This will be on top of the 850,000 people currently facing local restrictions in Madrid. Neighbourhoods have been divided, with residents affected only allowed out in their immediate area for good reason.

The Madrid regional government said it doesn't have enough Local Police to enforce the localised lockdowns, even as they stand.

The regional vice-president, Ignacio Aguado, asked "urgently" on Wednesday for 221 National Police and Guardia Civil to join the checks being made on local people. The Ministry of Defence implied on Thursday that up to 7,500 troops could be supplied to Madrid if needed.

The increased cooperation between the conservative regional government and Socialist-led national government started this week with PM Pedro Sánchez meeting regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso.

However there was criticism from parts of the Left that Madrid had "chosen" to lockdown poorer areas of the capital region first.

The PSOE Socialist leader in parliament, Adriana Lastra, said "the latest contribution of the Right is to unite the working class in virus and illness". Calls for large-scale protests were however dampened down after ministers expressed concern at the health risks involved.