Madrid mulls local lockdown as coronavirus cases spiral: official

The Madrid regional government is preparing a series of measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus in and around the Spanish capital.

The region’s deputy health chief Antonio Zapatero told the press on Wednesday that “action” was needed to stop the number of new cases spiraling out of control.

According to the Spanish Health Ministry, the Comunidad de Madrid — which includes the capital and the surrounding towns and villages — has seen 21,131 new cases over the last week and 42,844 over the past fortnight. The incidence of the virus has been at 651.50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks.

Zapatero said that in the face of such figures, “action is needed as soon as possible,” adding that “new decisions are being taken to restrict mobility and the concentration of people” by the regional government.

He said the measures could include “selective lockdown” within neighborhoods with the highest rates of infection. However, the official did not mention when any lockdown would be put into effect or how they would be put into practice.

Zapatero also said the regional government had asked for the current 14-day quarantine period to be reduced to seven days.

“In recent weeks the infectious period of the virus is in the first seven days; this is a fact that many specialists have observed. France and Germany are thinking about it and the ministry has accepted it as a possibility,” he explained.

Tuesday saw the total number of coronavirus cases in Spain pass 600,000, while there have now been over 30,000 deaths attributed to the virus.