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Coronavirus: Spain imposes state of emergency in Madrid after surge in cases

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Spain’s government has declared a state of emergency in Madrid so that it can resume partial restrictions on movement there that were struck down by a court.

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The government announced the measure after an emergency Cabinet meeting Friday to decide what to do about the Madrid region, which is witnessing one of Europe’s most concerning coronavirus clusters.

The region’s 14-day infection rate of 563 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents is more than twice Spain’s national average of 256 and five times the European average rate of 113 for the week ending Sept. 27.

The national government had ordered police in Madrid to fine people if they leave their municipalities without justification. The measure covers 4.8 million residents in Madrid and nine suburban towns.

But the Madrid regional government opposes the national government’s restrictions in the capital, saying they are draconian and hurt the economy. Madrid’s regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, says her more moderate measures are enough to fight the virus.

A Madrid court on Thursday upheld the regional government’s legal challenge, saying the national government’s imposition of restrictions violated people’s fundamental liberties.

Read more:

Coronavirus: Madrid urges residents to stay within city despite no lockdown

Coronavirus: Top Madrid court rejects partial lockdown to slow COVID-19