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COVID-19

Madrid to reopen some (but not all) city parks and pedestrianize streets to alleviate crowds

It is a policy that has baffled city residents forced to negotiate social distancing through crowded streets while on their sanctioned daily walks.

Madrid to reopen some (but not all) city parks and pedestrianize streets to alleviate crowds

City parks and green spaces have been closed off to the public not just during lockdown but even since restrictions were loosened to allow people to leave the homes and exercise in the open air.

But from Friday Madrid authorities will reopen certain neighbourhood city parks to the public as a way to alleviate crowded squares and sidewalks.

Madrid City Hall announced on Thursday that neighbouhood parks apart from the 19 listed below would open from Friday and maintain usual opening hours. However, children's playgrounds would remain closed.

And they even plan to pedestrianize 19km of streets in the city at weekends from 8am to 10pm.

However, 19 of the city’s largest parks including Retiro, Casa de Campo and the Madrid Rio will remain closed for the time being.

This is the list of the parks that will remain closed:

–  Retiro

– Fuente del Berro

– Capricho

– Quinta los Molinos

– Sabatini

– Torres Arias

– Juan Carlos I

– Juan Pablo II

– Viveros Casa Campo

– Viveros Estufas

– Rosaleda

– Valdebebas

– Finca Tres Cantos

– Oeste

– Oriente

– Dehesa de la Villa

– Madrid Río

– Casa Campo

– Lineal del Manzanares

And this is a map of all those streets that will be closed to traffic at the weekend to provide people with more space to walk while keeping a distance from each other.


Map published by Área de Desarrollo Urbano, Madrid City Hall.
 

Here is a list of the streets by district:

Centro

  • Plaza de Cascorro, 672 m
  • Calle Mayor (Bailén – Sol), 795 m
  • Paseo del Prado (Carlos V – Cibeles), 986 m
  • Calle Fuencarral (Quevedo – Bilbao), 455 m

Arganzuela

  • Paseo Imperial (plaza de Francisco Morano – Ronda de Segovia), 705 m

Retiro

  • Menéndez Pelayo (calle O’Donnell – calle Mariano de Cavia), 1.620 m

Salamanca

  • Calle Goya (calle Alcalá – calle Doctor Esquerdo), 575 m
  • Paseo de la Castellana (calle Goya – glorieta Emilio Castelar), 1.000 m

Chamberí

  • Calle Santander (calle Islas Filipinas – calle San Francisco de Sales), 405 m
  • Calle Bravo Murillo (calle Ríos Rosas – calle Cea Bermúdez), 369 m

Chamartín

  • Paseo de la Castellana (calle Concha Espina – plaza de Cuzco), 656 m

Tetuán

  • Avda. Asturias (Vía Límite – plaza Castilla), 1.050 m

Hortaleza

  • Calle López de Hoyos (carretera Canillas – Gran Vía de Hortaleza), 464 m

Barajas

  • Plaza de Hermanos Falcó y Álvarez (plaza Mayor de Barajas), 226 m

Latina

  • Vía Carpetana (calle Caramuel – 15 de Mayo), 558 m
  • Calle Valmojado (calle Seseña – calle Maqueda), 1.260 m

 

Puente de Vallecas

  • Calle Candilejas (calle Diligencia – calle Javier de Miguel), 525 m

San Blas-Canillejas

  • Avda. Arcentales (calle Miguel Yuste – avda. Institución Libre de Enseñanza), 1.060 m

Moratalaz

  • Calle Fuente Carrantona (calle Hacienda de Pavones – calle Arroyo Fontarrón), 608 m

Vicálvaro

  • Paseo de los Artilleros (calle Vicalvarada – calle San Cipriano), 535 m

Villaverde

  • Paseo Alberto Palacios (plaza de Ágata – calle Oasis), 335 m

Ciudad Lineal

  • Calle Arturo Soria (calle Josefa Valcárcel – calle Alcalá), 1.490 m
  • Calle Francisco Largo Caballero (avda. Daroca – avda. Institución Libre de Enseñanza), 862 m

Villa de Vallecas

  • Calle Sierra Gorda (calle Gavia Seca – calle Enrique García Álvarez), 305 m

Usera

  • Calle Manuel Noya (calle Marcelo Usera – calle San Nicomedes), 306 m

Fuencarral-El Pardo

  • Avda. Monforte de Lemos (avda. Betanzos – calle Ginzo de Limia), 654 m

Moncloa

  • Calle Quintana (calle Princesa – avda. Pintor Rosales), 425 m

Carabanchel

  • Calle Antonio Antoraz (completa), 188 m
  • Calle Laguna (calle Oca – Vía Carpetana), 365 m

 

 

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COVID-19

Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.

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