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‘No guests at home’: Madrid tightens restrictions with new curfew and more confined zones

From Monday, Madrid will bring the curfew forward from midnight to 11pm and close restaurants and bars at 10pm as the region struggles to control a third wave of coronavirus infections.

'No guests at home': Madrid tightens restrictions with new curfew and more confined zones
Bars and restaurants must now close by 10pm. Photo: AFP

Deputy health chief, Antonio Zapatero announced on Friday that new confinement measures would come into force in a further 47 basic healthcare zones and 19 municipalities across the region from Monday.

Authorities also recommended that social gatherings within private homes be limited to those within one household only, although they are seeking legal measures to make it mandatory and called for people to wear facemasks “at all times”.

“We must not get together at home with people from other households,” said Antonio Zapatero, the deputy chief of Public Health in the Madrid region.

The measures will come into force at midnight on Sunday night and last for at least two weeks.

The number of daily new infections has soared across Madrid with the cumulative incidence rate over a 14 day period reaching 636 cases per 100,000 people from 390 cases in just two weeks,

This is above Spain’s average which has now risen to  523 cases per 100,000 people, health ministry data showed on Thursday, just short of the record high of 529 cases per 100,000 people recorded in November.

The Health Ministry registered 35,878 new infections overnight on Thursday while the death toll from the virus rose by 201 to the official count of 53,079.

Data shows that across Madrid 90 percent of basic healthcare zones (263 out of 285) have a cumulative incidence rate above the critical danger threshold of 400 cases per 100,000 population.

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 of each Basic Healthcare Zone within Madrid.

However, rather than force perimetral confinements on them all authorities have now changed the criteria to isolate only those with an incident rate above the Madrid average when combined with limitations of each healthzone.

To discover which areas are confined click on the 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 unless they have justified cause. 

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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COVID-19

Did Sweden’s state epidemiologist really get a big job at the WHO?

For his supporters, it was well-deserved, for his detractors a case of failing upwards. But when Sweden's Public Health Agency announced this month that state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell was taking a job at the World Health Organisation, both sides assumed it was true.

Did Sweden's state epidemiologist really get a big job at the WHO?

Now, it seems, the job might not be there after all. 

At the start of this month, Sweden’s Public Health Agency announced that Anders Tegnell was resigning to take up a post coordinating vaccine work with the World Health Organisation in Geneva. 

“I’ve worked with vaccines for 30 years and have at the same time always been inspired by international issues,” Tegnell said in the release. “Now I will have the chance to contribute to this comprehensive international work.”

During the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tegnell shot immediately from obscurity into the spotlight, gaining such celebrity status in Sweden that one fan had his profile tattooed onto his arm.

Internationally he was hailed by lockdown sceptics for his reasoned arguments against overly restrictive measures to control the spread of the virus. 

His new WHO appointment was reported all over the world. 

But on Tuesday, the Svenska Daglabdet newspaper revealed that the job had not yet been awarded. A spokesperson for the WHO said at a press conference in Geneva that “there is some confusion”, and that “this is an internal question.” 

According to the newspaper, there is even “a certain level of irritation” behind the scenes at the WHO that Sweden acted too soon and dispatched Tegnell to a job that did not actually exist yet. 

“We have received an offer from Sweden, which is still under discussion,” the organisation’s press spokesperson, Fadela Chaib, told the newspaper. 

On Thursday, the Public Health Agency’s press chief Christer Janson conceded that there had been a mistake and that the negotiation had not been completed.  

“We believed it was done, but it wasn’t,” he told Expressen in an interview. “It’s been a much longer process to get this completed than we thought. There’s been a misunderstanding and we regret that.” 

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