The warning came as Madrid regional authorities mulled extending the confinement zones to another 16 trouble spots.
Spain is struggling to contain a second wave of the virus, which has already infected over 670,000 people and claimed over 30,000 lives, one of Europe's highest tolls.
Madrid has become the epicentre of the contagion with a rate of infection of nearly 700 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks across the region – nearly three times the national average.
“I would recommend residents of Madrid to limit to the maximum their movements, that they scrupulously respect the measures dictated by the health authorities in the region and minimise their movements to what is essential and their contacts to those closest to them,” Health Minister Salvador Illa said during an interview with radio Cadena Ser.
File photo of Health Minister Salvador Illa. Photo: AFP
His comments come a day after a partial lockdown came into effect on some 850,000 people in the Madrid region — mostly in densely populated, low-income districts in the south — who account for 13 percent of the region's population of 6.6 million but 24 percent of virus infections.
The restrictions which came into force on Monday prevent people from entering or leaving the affected areas, except for work, education or to seek medical care but they can move around freely withing their zone.
- Rules, permits, fines: What you need to know if you live within Madrid’s new confinement zones
- MAP: Which areas of Madrid have new restrictions?
The affected areas have all counted more than Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants — around five times the national average, which in itself is the highest in the European Union.
But on Tuesday regional authorities said they were considering extending the confinement rules to more zones across Madrid as the number of new cases grew.
So far 37 “health zones” have been placed under new restrictions but another 16 zones across Madrid already meet the threshold of an accumulation rate of over 1,000 cases per 100,000 population in a two week period.
Si tienes dudas, consulta este mapa interactivo de la @ComunidadMadrid para conocer las calles afectadas por las restricciones que han entrado hoy en vigor#CoronavirusMadrid #siempreconmascarillahttps://t.co/NnYOpD5Jcz
— SaludMadrid (@SaludMadrid) September 21, 2020
Madrid's regional Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, told Onda Cero in an interview on Tuesday morning that: “We are assessing whether to expand the (confinement) area to include those with an incidence rate above 1,000”.
Here is a list of the heath zones that could be next for confinement according to the incidence rate recorded in each.
- San Isidro: 1.213,07
- Campo de la Paloma: 1.194,15
- Canillejas: 1.095,67
- Villaamil: 1.095,39
- Rafael Alberti: 1.047,51
- Orcasitas: 1.046,73
- Lavapiés: 1.037,12
- Vicálvaro-Artilleros: 1.035,80
- García Noblejas: 1.026,20
- Doctor Trueba:1.339,11
- Miguel Servet: 1.117, 38
Torrejón de Ardoz
- Las Fronteras: 1.150,99
- Panaderas: 1.078,37
Villa del Prado
- Villa del Prado, la única área sanitaria del municipio: 1.057,92
- Alcalde Bartolomé González: 1.019,70
- Sierra de Guadarrama: 1.064,67
To find out the situation in your neighbourhood, click on the interactive map below and hover over the area you want to check and a box will appear with all the latest epidemiological information.
The regional government of Madrid, which is responsible for health care, has also reduced the maximum size of permitted social gatherings across the entire region from ten to six.
Many epidemiologists have expressed doubts about the effectiveness of Madrid's new measures but Illa said he believed they could help control the spread of the virus and that it would not be necessary to declare a state of emergency in the region, a step which would allow the government to confine people to their homes.
Since the central government ended its state of emergency on June 21st, lifting all national lockdown restrictions, responsibility for public healthcare and managing the pandemic has been left in the hands of Spain's 17 autonomous regions.