Madrid unlikely to be among regions advancing to Phase 1 on Monday

Madrid unlikely to be among regions advancing to Phase 1 on Monday
The outdoor restaurants on Madrid's Plaza Mayor are likely to remain closed for at least another week. Photo: AFP
The Spanish government is currently considering petitions from Spain’s regional authorities to advance to the next stage in the “Plan to Transition to the new normal” in order to decide which provinces meet the requirements to move into Phase 1 on Monday.

All regional governments except Catalonia and Castilla y Leon made applications to the central government to advance to the next stage which involves lifting certain restrictions and allowing groups of up to ten people to meet.

It came as a surprise to many to hear that Madrid was among those regions requesting to loosen restrictions as it has been the most hardest hit in Spain and is still reporting dozens of deaths each day from the coronavirus.

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On Friday, health ministry data showed that 48 people had died in Madrid from coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

But sources close to Moncloa report that Spain’s government is poised to reject Madrid’s request and that the city will have to wait before reopening its terrazas and cultural spaces, even to reduced numbers.

The request has reportedly caused ruptures within Madrid’s own regional government, which is run by the Popular Party and led to the resignation of the regional director of Public Health, Yolanda Fuentes.


File photo of Yolanda Fuentes outside the health ministry in 2014. Photo: AFP


The decision on whether individual provinces can advance to Phase 1 will be taken by the central government if they meet certain epidemiological conditions.

Those expected to meet the criteria are Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Murcia and Andalusia as well as Spain’s north African city enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

A recent report showed that those least prepared to advance were Navarre, the Basque Country, La Rioja,  Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Catalonia and Madrid.

Decisions on which provinces meet the criteria are expected to be announced later Friday.

All of Spain is currently in the preparatory Phase Zero except for four islands which are pioneering the path forward as they have experienced a very low number of coronavirus cases.

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