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Spain at its worst!

At the epicenter of an explosion of new infections in Spain, millions of people in Madrid have had new restrictions imposed on their lives as Spain’s national government has imposed a partial lockdown in Madrid to curb the wave of growing cases. With the second wave of COVID-19, once again, Madrid is the worst-hit region, with a third of all national cases and deaths. Spain and many other countries in the northern hemisphere have seen a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks. Among all of them, Spain is witnessing the most serious second wave of Covid-19 infections in Europe with a total number of 810,807 cases recorded. The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a stark warning about the resurgence of the virus in Europe and elsewhere as winter approaches.

Residents of the areas, mainly in densely populated, low-income neighborhoods in the south of Madrid, will as of Monday only be allowed to leave their zone to go to work, seek medical care or take their children to school. There were also certain measures introduced by the government to curb the spread of COVID; however, those are being criticised by a few experts on the ground of ineffectiveness.
“All bars and restaurants will have to reduce their capacity by 50 per cent with only six-person sitting permission,” the regional government of Madrid said in the statement.

It was specified by the authorities that people can only travel outside their home districts for essential journeys. Although on Tuesday, regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso said her government was considering extending the partial lockdown measures to other areas as well. “We will do everything necessary to contain (the virus) but we want to see how these measures work in these priority areas,” she told radio Onda Cero. The lockdown took effect in nine towns around the capital.

“Reports indicate that most contagions are occurring in private settings, in personal relationships between families and friends,” said Madrid regional government chief Isabel Diaz Ayuso, who was infected at the start of the pandemic.

She further shared, “We are obliged to take these measures in these specific areas…if we did not do so, we run the risk of it being spread to the whole of Madrid. We have time to avoid it.”

At La Paz Hospital, another of Madrid’s biggest, all 30 ICU critical care beds are occupied. Miguel Hernán, an epidemiologist from Harvard University in the US, advised Spain on its first lockdown. He says the country appears to have lifted that lockdown too fast and then reacted too slowly to curb the new rise in infections. “There are more patients than we can attend in critical care units,” says Juan José Río, Medical Director at La Paz.

“Instead of preparing and learning from what happened in places like Aragon and Catalonia, which have coped better with the epidemic, Madrid and other regions didn’t put the necessary measures in place,” said Salvador Macip, a health sciences expert at Catalonia’s Open University.

The restrictions have been resisted by Madrid’s city authorities, which tried to use the courts to block their imposition. Madrid’s justice minister said it would cost the capital’s economy and regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso tweeted: “Thanks for the chaos, [Prime Minister] Pedro Sánchez.”

By Karishma Gwalani

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