Coronavirus in Spain. The dispute between the Madrid authorities and the government over the fight against the pandemic

The deputy head of the government of the Madrid region, Ignacio Aguado on Sunday called on the Spanish minister of health, Salvador Ila, to stop the confrontation over the intervention in the capital, which was considered by the government, which became the epicenter of the pandemic in the country.


The central government believes that measures taken by the regional administration are not enough to contain the spread of the coronavirus. ‘We recommend that you review the measures taken against the pandemic and take into account the recommendations of scientists and experts,’ said Illa. – This is not an ideological fight, but an epidemic one – he emphasized.

Salvador Illa during a meeting in the Spanish governmentPAP / EPA / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

“This is not a quarantine like in March”

Due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus, the authorities of the Autonomous Community of Madrid last week imposed restrictions on the movement of residents in 37 sanitary zones in the region, and then in another eight. These are areas where the rate of infections per 100,000 1,000 inhabitants or more in the last 14 days.

Meanwhile, the central government in Madrid has recommended the closure of the entire city and those nearby municipalities where the number of infections is 500 out of 100,000. residents in the last two weeks. He also recommended a ban on consumption at restaurant counters and a 50 percent reduction. the number of customers admitted to restaurant gardens throughout the Madrid region.

“This is not a quarantine like in March and April, but a restriction of freedom of movement by prohibiting the entry and exit of residents from individual sanitary zones” – wrote the daily “El Mundo”. The mobility restriction provides for numerous exceptions, such as going to work, clinics, banks, offices, to care for the sick, as well as return to home, and others, such as “force majeure” and “absolute need” situations.

“There is a serious health risk for the people of Madrid,” explained Illa on Saturday. The government is currently considering “legal instruments” to take control of the health of the region. According to the Spanish media, it is possible to introduce an emergency in the region, pursuant to Art. 155 of the constitution, or – which is considered more likely – the government’s reference to the decree on the so-called new normality, which allows the Ministry of Health to intervene in the region for the protection of public health.

“Cooperation cannot be about imposing solutions”

Government sources in Madrid, cited by the portal, “hope that it will not be needed as the local administration will admit its mistakes (in crisis management) and will adapt to the health ministry’s recommendation on the closure of the city and nearby municipalities” .

The president of the Madrid region for the right-wing People’s Party (PP), Isabel Diaz Ayuso, replied on Saturday that she “would be ready to close all city and municipal districts if the same criterion was applied by the central government to the rest of Spain and if it started to conduct PCR (coronavirus) tests. ) at the international airport in the capital and at railway stations “.

– We will take all measures to protect residents. However, cooperation (with the health ministry) must not be about imposing solutions, said the regional deputy health minister Antonio Zapatero. The political confrontation between the left-wing central government and the Madrid regional government, governed by the right-wing liberal coalition of the PP and Ciudadanos, was the reason for the resignation last Friday of the jointly elected and just two days earlier spokesman of the Madrid group on combating COVID-19, Emilia Bouzy, who had coordinate activities between the two administrations.

“Madrid like Italy”

Intensive care units in Madrid are already at their limits, there is no independent public health agency that would set clear criteria for operation, no reliable, comprehensive and constantly updated data needed to make decisions, “El Mundo wrote on Friday. We are a ship in a GPS-free storm, said Fernando Garcia Benavides, public health professor at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, ​​quoted by the newspaper. “Madrid is now like Italy at the start of the pandemic,” he added.

Main photo source: PAP / EPA / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

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