The political battle between central and regional government’s moves to a new phase as the central government’s imposition of a state of alarm over the Spanish capital comes to a close on Saturday 23rd October.
Without a parliamentary majority in the lower House of Deputies it cannot be extended.
Therefore the regional authorities are looking at alternative less drastic measures including a “Paris style” evening curfew to combat the coronavirus spread.
The regional government’s health chief Enrique Ruiz Escudero told Europa Press, that one option being considered is a night curfew imposed by the central government as the regional one does not have the legal authority to do so.
Ruiz Escudero said that in meetings with political and medical heads the option could be viable but “to do this, legal coverage is needed that the Madrid region does not have, it would have to be a decision made by the Spanish government. It’s a decision that we would not consider to be a bad one.”
However there are marked differences between the approach of the Socialist PSOE led coalition central government of Pedro Sanchez and the PP led coalition regional government of Isabel Isabel Díaz Ayuso whose meeting to resolve differences earlier this month has not led to the hoped for cooperation.
The possible formula being touted is for a national approach whereby any areas that breach the government’s infection rate guide triggers local lockdown measures.
The Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa insisted that “a state of alarm will be essential if such tough restrictions on freedom of movement are to be implemented” and that a curfew would not be implemented unless all of the regions were in agreement.
The central government’s guideline is for a lockdown once infection rates rise above 500 per 100,000 inhabitants. Spain has a national average of 312 whilst the Madrid region is presently 439 per 100,000.
Although the number of recorded coronavirus cases continue to rise the Health authorities are hopeful that the rate of infection has slowed and Madrid’s rate has fallen to below that of other autonomous communities such as Aragón, Castilla y León, Navarre and La Rioja.
To date Spain has recorded over a million cases of which nearly 34,000 have died.