CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: Madrid closes bars, restaurants and terraces

Madrid mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida has not ruled out a lockdown in the capital: "It would be irresponsible not to consider every possible scenario".

Coronavirus: Madrid closes bars, restaurants and terraces

Mayor of Madrid José Luis Martínez-Almeida announced on Friday that all licenses for bars to operate terraces in the capital have been suspended with immediate effect and the government is expected to announce that all restaurants and bars in Madrid will close until further notice, as from tomorrow, Saturday.

This latest measure comes after the decision to close children’s zones in the city’s parks, as well as other areas where large numbers of children usually gather. Schools and universities in Madrid were closed for a 14-day period earlier this week. For the moment, the regional government has not closed the city’s main park, El Retiro, Almeida told Onda Cero.

Madrid lockdown not ruled out

Almeida advised anyone who is currently in Madrid, citizens and visitors "to avoid any travel that is not absolutely necessary and areas where a lot of people are gathered". He went on to add that the best way of avoiding contracting and spreading coronavirus is to stay at home.

"Once this crisis has passed, we will need to evaluate how such situations are dealt with politically", Madrid’s mayor explained. "But the most important thing at this moment is that we are all united and pull together". He also said that he will give his full support to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and would ask the government to take drastic measures if the situation starts to get out of hand.

One of those drastic measures includes locking down the entire autonomous region of Madrid – something which Almeida has not entirely ruled out: "It would be irresponsible not to consider every possible scenario. At this moment, we are unable to say whether such action will be applied immediately, nor can we rule out that it may need to be applied". Almeida explained that extra protective materials have been ordered for council workers.

Lastly, hotels and nursing homes are being fitted with beds and medical supplies as a preventive measure to avoid collapsing the healthcare system if the situation worsens. Also, Madrid’s city council will be cutting property taxes by 25% as well as business taxes until the end of the year.

Almost 2000 cases in Madrid

Health minister Enrique Ruiz Escudero confirmed on Friday that the number of positive cases of coronavirus infections in the Madrid region had risen to by 700 new cases to almost 2000. During the last 24 hours two people have died as a result of the virus, taking the total number of fatalities to 40. At the moment, 190 patients are being treated for coronavirus in intensive care in Madrid.