Random police checks in Madrid after the start of partial lockdown

Spanish police set up temporary checkpoints, as residents of Madrid and nine nearby towns began a partial lockdown, news wires reported. Hours after the city limits were closed off to all non-essential traffic, masked police could be seen setting up temporary checkpoints and stopping cars for about 20 minutes before moving on, an AFP correspondent said.

For the next 14 days, residents of the capital and nine nearby towns, will not be able to leave the city limits except for work, school or medical reasons. But they are not confined to their homes and can circulate freely.

Some 4.5m people are affected by the closure, which came into force at 10:00 pm (2000 GMT) on Friday as the region battles a soaring infection rate of 730 cases per 100,000 people, compared with just 300 per 100,000 in the rest of Spain, in itself the highest rate in the EU.

Spain’s Socialist PM Pedro Sanchez said the steps were “critical” to stopping virus outbreaks and preventing a repeat of the horrific scenes of March and April, when hospitals were overrun with dying patients.

The Madrid government led by Isabel Diaz Ayuso of the conservative Popular Party said it would enforce the Spanish government's orders but it also has challenged them in the National Court. Ayuso and her regional ministers have said the restrictions will cause “chaos,” hurt an already weakened economy and violate their jurisdiction as regional authorities.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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