MADRID (Reuters) – Madrid’s regional prime minister has called for the army’s help on Monday to fight the coronavirus flow in and around the Spanish capital, where local authorities have ordered a partial lock – in of some poorer areas, leading to protests over the weekend.
At the height of the first wave of the March-April epidemic, Spain deployed thousands of troops to fight the outbreak and a new increase in infection, which peaked at over 10,000 a day, took cumulative cases over 640,000, the highest in Western Europe.
“We need help from the army for disinfection … and to strengthen local police and law enforcement,”
She also called for provisional hospitals to be set up again, about three months after they were closed down when Spain came out of its strict lockdown after reducing the rate of infection.
Sanchez said central and regional governments would determine the size of the military and police reinforcement at a meeting later in the afternoon, the first of a series of meetings to address the situation in the region.
At the same time, residents of the southern district of Vallecas, one of the areas where the partial lock started on Monday, were upset but left the curbs when police stopped cars coming in and out of the neighborhood.
Ayuso’s government had ordered restrictions on mobility in areas where about 850,000 people are at home, prompting discrimination complaints and protests.
Madrid authorities said they had chosen these areas because the levels of infection there exceeded 1,000 per 100,000 people.
However, some residents complained about the measures, which allow people to go to work or school, not to deal with the problem of an overcrowded transport system.
“It is terrible and bad, because it is discrimination. They should regulate the subway, we are packed like sardines, “Marina, a housewife living in Vallecas, told Reuters.
Local businesses began to feel pinched: “We had no business this morning, it’s empty,” said John Michael Montana Sanchez, who runs three restaurants on the same street in Vallecas. “I have 16 employees and I will start giving them holidays because I do not know what will happen next.”
Reporting by Inti Landauro, Jose Elías Rodríguez, Emma Pinedo, Miguel Gutierrez and Guillermo Martinez, editing by Andrei Khalip; Edited by Tomasz Janowski