Spain imposes state of emergency on Madrid

Madrid's centre-right government argues that the partial lockdown measures go too far.

The Spanish government has ordered a 15-day state of emergency to bring down Covid-19 infection rates in the capital, after a court overturned a partial lockdown imposed a week ago.

Madrid and nine nearby cities will see restrictions on movement enforced.

The capital has been at the centre of a political row, with the centre-right city authorities challenging the Socialist government’s demands.

Cases are down and a state of emergency is unjustified, say city officials.

Madrid health minister Enrique Ruiz Escudero insisted that measures already in place were working and that the national government order was “a measure no Madrileño will understand”.

Late last Friday, all non-essential movement in and out of Madrid and the other nine cities was banned, despite the opposition of local authorities.

When their court challenge was successful on Thursday night, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez decided to move quickly, ahead of a holiday weekend, with Spaniards celebrating their national day on Monday.