Madrid court annuls central government's COVID-19 curbs on city

By Emma Pinedo and Inti Landauro MADRID (Reuters) - A Madrid court on Thursday struck down a government order imposing a partial coronavirus lockdown on the Spanish capital, ruling in favour of the Madrid region in a standoff with national authorities just before a long holiday weekend.

Reuters October 09, 2020 00:10:39 IST
Madrid court annuls central government's COVID-19 curbs on city

COVID-19 curbs on city" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/10-2020/09/2020-10-08T105916Z_1_LYNXMPEG9714K_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-SPAIN-MADRID.jpg" alt="Madrid court annuls central governments COVID19 curbs on city" width="300" height="225" />

By Emma Pinedo and Inti Landauro

MADRID (Reuters) - A Madrid court on Thursday struck down a government order imposing a partial coronavirus lockdown on the Spanish capital, ruling in favour of the Madrid region in a standoff with national authorities just before a long holiday weekend.

Under the Health Ministry's order, Madrid regional authorities on Friday barred residents from leaving the area, including nine satellite towns, without a valid reason, and imposed other measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in one of Europe's worst virus hotspots.

Regional government chief Isabel Diaz Ayuso had opposed the order, saying it would ravage the region's economy, also arguing the ministry had no power to impose such curbs on a region.

The Madrid regional court sided with her in its ruling, calling the restrictions "interference by public authorities in citizens' fundamental rights without the legal mandate to support it".

The restrictions imposed in Madrid, with its usually bustling restaurants and bars, had not yet been fully enforced as no fines could be levied on people violating the restrictions until the court had issued its decision. The government can appeal.

Welcoming the court's decision, Ayuso nevertheless urged Madrilenos to stay home over the upcoming Hispanic Day weekend that usually sparks mass holiday travel across Spain.

She promised to release a set of "sensible, fair and balanced" rules on Friday, meaning capital residents may still face more restrictions in a country where the government forecasts GDP will fall 11.2% in 2020.

"Madrid's businesses can't carry on like this ... Nobody understands the rules, nobody knows what is going on," she said during a televised address.

Under the law, the Spanish government can limit fundamental rights by imposing a state of emergency, as it did nationwide for three months starting in March, but it is up to the regions, which control health policy, to request such measures on a more local scale outside of an emergency.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who described the situation in Madrid as "concerning", told reporters in Algeria his government would study the court ruling and decide how to proceed after a meeting with the Madrid authorities.

The region had 741 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the two weeks to Oct. 7, according to the World Health Organization, making it Europe's second densest COVID-19 cluster after Andorra.

Spain reported 12,423 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the national tally up to 848,324 - the highest in Western Europe. Deaths rose by 126 to 32,688.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro and Emma Pinedo; Additional reporting by Nathan Allen; Editing by Andrei Khalip, Alison Williams and Alex Richardson)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.