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EXPLAINED: How to prove you need to enter or exit Madrid’s restricted zones

With random police checks in place make sure you know what paperwork can prove the need to enter and exit Madrid's restricted zones.

EXPLAINED: How to prove you need to enter or exit Madrid’s restricted zones
A woman proves valid reason for crossing at a checkpoint in Madrid. Photo: AFP

The city of Madrid and nine other satellite towns have had new restrictions placed since Friday in a bid to curb the soaring rate of infections across the region.

The rules are not as strict as during the state of emergency which began in March and placed residents across Spain in lockdown and only allowed to leave the house for very limited reasons.

But the new rules are designed to prevent people entering or exiting a restricted zone unless they have good reason which includes work, study, to care for a dependent or to attend an appointment such as medical, legal or administrative.

Q&A: What you can and can't do under Madrid's new lockdown rules

With police checkpoints in place at busy exit routes on the roads and at transport hubs here’s what you need to know about the documentation required to prove the purpose of your journey.

To avoid problems at checkpoints, always carry some form of photo ID (which is required by law in Spain) and if that doesn’t have your current home address on it then carry something that proves your place of residence, such as padron certificate or at the very least an official letter with your address on it (such as utility bill or bank statement).

If you are not going home to a restricted area but entering one for another purpose then here are the various documentation that can help prove it.

Work

Despite the strict lockdown conditions earlier this year, Spain has yet to introduce a nationwide document to provide “safe conduct” to those who require it.

However, when the region brought in restrictions across 45 health zones last month, Madrid health authorities did launch a form that justifies crossing restricted limits for the purposes of work and it seems that this is still the only way to prove that you are justified in crossing restricted perimeters

The form must be filled out with ID number, address, place of work and reason for movement and must be signed by one's employer. 

They can be downloaded HERE. or by clicking through on tweet below.

Study

Crossing a restricted city limit for the purpose of study is allowed but you may need to prove it if stopped by pólice. Those who are studying at a university, college or school can show their student card –  “carné personal de adscripción”. If you are a parent taking or collecting your children then have a copy of their enrolment with you. Other places of study should be able to provide you with a certificate of enrolment on a course which will satisfy authorities.

Medical attention


 

If you have an appointment with a specialist at a medical centre either outside the restricted zone where you live or within one where you are not resident then you will be able to show a copy of your cita previa to prove it.

If you are going to visit a relative in hospital then you can request that the hospital send you a “certificado de hospitalización” of your relative which should be proof enough.

If however you are seeking emergency medical treatment and are on your way to an Emergency room (Urgencias) outside of your restricted zone then you just have to hope that if you are stopped at a random police check, the officer will recognize the emergency and allow you through as there is no paperwork for this eventuality.

Returning to your home

If you were away when restrictions were put in place then you will always allowed to return to your “place of habitual residence” and just need to be able to prove it.

Spanish people have their DNI to do this but foreigners will need photo ID plus something official that shows they are a resident within the restricted zone such as residency card or padron certificate. If you are a new arrival and haven’t had time to sort that out yet then do your best to prove it with a rental contract or utility bill.

Visiting a dependent or vulnerable person in your care

 

Those visiting their children who may live with another parent, elderly relatives who rely on their care or other dependents because of a disability should present whatever documentation they have to prove it. Police may accompany you to the address to check that your reason given was valid.

To visit a financial entity

One of the reasons permitted to breach restrictions is to visit a bank or financial entity that cannot be postponed and before you go to your appointment ask the bank to send you a “justificante” ahead of the visit.

Judicial or administrative appointments

If you have an appointment with an administrative office you can show your “cita previa” confirmation as proof and any legal process that you have to carry out should have a written confirmation of appointment that you can show to police if required. These can be on a mobile phone rather than printed out if need be.

Exams

If you have an exam or test to go to then show the documents confirming that it is taking place on that day and that should be sufficient proof

Force majeure

This exemption can cover any manner of issues and could be hard to prove. If you need to go an take care of someone, or look after animals or even tend to your allotment, it will fall under this category and can be hard to prove. Have your excuse prepared, carry whatever supporting documents you can and hope that if stopped, the police agent will be understanding.

And remember that any sanctions issues can be appealed.

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COVID-19 ALERT

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

A resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Europe, this time driven by new, fast-spreading Omicron subvariants, is once again threatening to disrupt people's summer plans.

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

Several Western European nations have recently recorded their highest daily case numbers in months, due in part to Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

The increase in cases has spurred calls for increased vigilance across a continent that has relaxed most if not all coronavirus restrictions.

The first resurgence came in May in Portugal, where BA.5 propelled a wave that hit almost 30,000 cases a day at the beginning of June. That wave has since started to subside, however.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: German Health Ministry lays out autumn Covid plan

Italy recorded more than 62,700 cases on Tuesday, nearly doubling the number from the previous week, the health ministry said. 

Germany meanwhile reported more than 122,000 cases on Tuesday. 

France recorded over 95,000 cases on Tuesday, its highest daily number since late April, representing a 45-percent increase in just a week.

Austria this Wednesday recorded more than 10,000 for the first time since April.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Cases have also surged in Britain, where there has been a seven-fold increase in Omicron reinfection, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS blamed the rise on the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but also said Covid fell to the sixth most common cause of death in May, accounting for 3.3 percent of all deaths in England and Wales.

BA.5 ‘taking over’

Mircea Sofonea, an epidemiologist at the University of Montpellier, said Covid’s European summer wave could be explained by two factors.

READ ALSO: 11,000 new cases: Will Austria reintroduce restrictions as infection numbers rise?

One is declining immunity, because “the protection conferred by an infection or a vaccine dose decreases in time,” he told AFP.

The other came down to the new subvariants BA.4 and particularly BA.5, which are spreading more quickly because they appear to be both more contagious and better able to escape immunity.

Olivier Schwartz, head of the virus and immunity unit at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said BA.5 was “taking over” because it is 10 percent more contagious than BA.2.

“We are faced with a continuous evolution of the virus, which encounters people who already have antibodies — because they have been previously infected or vaccinated — and then must find a selective advantage to be able to sneak in,” he said.

READ ALSO: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in France

But are the new subvariants more severe?

“Based on limited data, there is no evidence of BA.4 and BA.5 being associated with increased infection severity compared to the circulating variants BA.1 and BA.2,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said last week.

But rising cases can result in increasing hospitalisations and deaths, the ECDC warned.

Could masks be making a comeback over summer? (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Alain Fischer, who coordinates France’s pandemic vaccine strategy, warned that the country’s hospitalisations had begun to rise, which would likely lead to more intensive care admissions and eventually more deaths.

However, in Germany, virologist Klaus Stohr told the ZDF channel that “nothing dramatic will happen in the intensive care units in hospitals”.

Return of the mask? 

The ECDC called on European countries to “remain vigilant” by maintaining testing and surveillance systems.

“It is expected that additional booster doses will be needed for those groups most at risk of severe disease, in anticipation of future waves,” it added.

Faced with rising cases, last week Italy’s government chose to extend a requirement to wear medical grade FFP2 masks on public transport until September 30.

“I want to continue to recommend protecting yourself by getting a second booster shot,” said Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza, who recently tested positive for Covid.

READ ALSO: Spain to offer fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to ‘entire population’

Fischer said France had “clearly insufficient vaccination rates” and that a second booster shot was needed.

Germany’s government is waiting on expert advice on June 30 to decide whether to reimpose mandatory mask-wearing rules indoors.

The chairman of the World Medical Association, German doctor Frank Ulrich Montgomery, has recommended a “toolbox” against the Covid wave that includes mask-wearing, vaccination and limiting the number of contacts.

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