Break up over new powerful coronavirus measures for Madrid –

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Split over new tough coronavirus measures for Madrid

Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa called for restrictions on movement for the entire city of Madrid, warning that current measures will not stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Illa gave a press conference on Friday to explain the government’s recommendations for the capital, which were tougher than the latest round of restrictions announced by the regional government of Madrid at the same time.

The regional executive announced that the measures put in place on Monday will be extended to a further eight areas, bringing the number of those affected to more than a million.

The region will start preparing hotels to treat COVID-19 patients, as it did during the first wave, amid increasing pressure on hospitals.

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However, Illa rejected Friday’s announcement as insufficient. He recommended that the mobility restrictions cover the entire capital and any nearby town where the incidence has been higher than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the last 14 days — twice the national average.

“The responsibility right now lies with the Madrid government, I can only explain the measures we recommend,” he said. “We must do this, shortcuts won’t work, and this is the government’s message for the citizens of Madrid and the entire country.”

Madrid is the epicenter of coronavirus in Spain, with nearly 50,000 cases diagnosed in the last two weeks. The number of COVID-19 patients being admitted to intensive care units in Madrid hospitals is above the levels reported in mid-March, when Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a strict national lockdown.

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However, the Spanish government and the Madrid regional executive, which has devolved powers on health, have clashed in recent weeks over the intensity of the response required to tackle the second wave.

Madrid’s President Isabel Díaz Ayuso is resisting pressure to request a local state of emergency and is introducing restrictions gradually in areas of the region where the incidence is higher than 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents.

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Díaz Ayuso, who did not take part in Friday’s press conference to explain the additional measures, hit back at Illa on Twitter.

“Rather than confining Madrid our mission is helping people. The measures we’re taking are the appropriate ones,” she said.

This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service: Pro Health Care. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharma and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the health care policy agenda. Email [email protected] for a complimentary trial.

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