The Guardian meanwhile has more details on what's going on in Spain right now as national and local officials clash over the latest Madrid shutdowns.
Salvador Illa, the national health minister, said the measures would remain in place for a fortnight, and also pointed out that other European cities had taken similar, or more drastic, action, despite having far low infection rates.
“The president of Madrid has decided to do nothing,” said Illa. “Over the past week, 63 people have died from Covid-19 in the Madrid region. Right now, there are 3,361 people in hospital in the Madrid region. There are 498 people fighting for their lives in the region’s intensive care units. We can sit on our hands or we can stop down the virus. Politics is about serving people and stopping the virus.”
The limited lockdown ordered by the government a week ago bans all non-essential movement in and out of the confined areas, but allows people to travel to work or to seek medical treatment.
Bars and restaurants – whose capacity has been limited to 50% – must close by 11pm. Over the past two weeks, Madrid has registered 563.8 new cases per 100,000 people, compared with a national average of 256.8.
Ayuso’s government had reluctantly obeyed the order, but launched a successful legal challenge, arguing that its own actions were bringing the situation under control and that the central government had no right to step in.
Ayuso is urging people in Madrid to stay in the city over the bank holiday weekend, but her administration has refused to heed the government’s calls for tougher action, instead proposing a last-minute plan to confine 51 areas where there have been more than 750 new cases per 100,000 people.
The regional health minister of Madrid, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, described the state of emergency as “an unjustified attack on the people of Madrid”.