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MADRID

Madrid extends Covid restrictions with 27 percent of population now in confined zones

The regional government of the Community of Madrid has extended perimetral confinement to include 30 municipalities and 71 basic healthcare zones.

Madrid extends Covid restrictions with 27 percent of population now in confined zones
Photo: AFP

The restrictions, which limit movement in and out of the boundaries except for those with justified cause such as work, study or to visit vulnerable dependents, come into force on Monday and will last at least until February 15.

This means that 1.8 million people, around 27 percent of Madrileños, now live within a restricted zone.

The latest data from Madrid’s health ministry shows that infections have risen by 16 percent  last week.

Regional authorities have stopped short of the measures currently in place in many other parts of Spain and are keeping restaurants and bars open until 9pm although they capped social groups to four people and have banned socializing in private homes.

A week ago the curfew was brought forward to 10pm.

 

To check which zones are restricted click on the interactive map below:

 

What are the restrictions? 

If you live within one of the restricted “basic health zones”  then you will as of Monday only be allowed to leave the zone to go to work, seek medical care or take their children to school or because of a “force majuere”.

All bars and restaurants will have to reduce their capacity by 50 percent, children's playgrounds will be closed.

Residents of the areas affected will be allowed to move around freely inside their zone but no one from outside will be allowed in.

As well as the measures in place in these restricted heathcare zones, Madrid has a curfew in place from 10pm to 6am and meetings are limited to groups of 4 in public and banned at home.

How will the restrictions be policed?

Local police officers, supported by the National Police and the Civil Guard, will be in place to ensure that residents of the affected areas respect the rules.

Anyone caught in breach of the new restrictions could face a fine of between €60 and €600 for a minor infraction and up to €600,000 for a serious one.

New rules

Basically, you must stay within your restricted zone unless you have to travel outside it for work, study, or take your children to school. You can also leave if you have to visit dependents or if you need to seek medical attention or attend a legal or administrative appointment.

Shops and restaurants will remain open but at half the capacity that they are normally allowed and they must shut by midnight allowing last people in by 11pm..

All social groups must not exceed six people and that is across the whole of the region of Madrid,  not just the restricted areas.

Plus the within restricted zones parks and public spaces such as childrens playgrounds are closed.

Cinemas, theatres, libraries and sports centres will remain open but with a limited capacity.

Home delivery is allowed.

Permits

People who need to exit or enter a restricted zone must carry a form which they can download from the internet and fill out in order to justify their trip. These must be carried at all times and shown if required when stopped by police at the checkpoints.

They will have to fill 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.

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FACE MASKS

Spain announces end of public transport face mask rule

Spain's Health Minister has announced that in the coming days masks will no longer be mandatory on planes, buses, trains, taxis and other means of public transport.

Spain announces end of public transport face mask rule

Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday confirmed that face masks would no longer be compulsory on public transport, a measure which has been in place in Spain for almost three years. 

“I will raise the proposal of eliminating the mandatory use of masks on public transport”, she said, adding that next week she will convene with the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System to “put this measure into effect”.  

Darias did not specify exactly when this would happen, although government agreements are usually approved the following day in the Official State Gazette (BOE), so the official end to the mask rule looks set to be on February 8th.

The minister did clarify however that masks would still be mandatory in health settings such as health centres and hospitals “as health experts advise”. 

Last week, Darias reported the possibility of eliminating the mandatory mask rule in pharmacies, but this is currently being “weighed up” by health experts.  

Manuel Franco, an expert in Public Health and a member of the Spanish Society of Public Health and Sanitary Administration (Sespas) explained that “the World Health Organisation (WHO) is already considering the decision to lift the public health emergency warning for Covid-19” and adds that “if this goes ahead, it would make no sense to maintain the mask rule”.  

The use of masks ceased to be mandatory outdoors almost a year ago, on February 10th, 2022.

Then, two months later on April 20th, the government announced they wouldn’t be required indoors either, except in health centres and on public transport. 

The latest bulletin of Sentinel Surveillance of Acute Respiratory Infection in Primary Care (ARIs) and in Hospitals (SARI), announced a drop in infections and hospitalisations and said that the rates for Covid-19 remain stable.

The decision to end the mask rule in February comes after health experts who advise the Spanish Ministry of Health said that masks should no longer be required on public transport

On Wednesday, January 25th the director of the Health Alerts and Emergencies Coordination Centre of the Ministry of Health (CCAES), Fernando Simón, assured that the end of the mask rule on transport would be announced “shortly” either “next week or the following”.  

Then, on Thursday morning, government spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez, stated that the decision to remove the mask on public transport would be taken “immediately, when possible”, but pointed out that the government was looking at the situation in China first. 

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