Just hours ahead of the start of a long holiday weekend, the Spanish government put the Madrid region under a state of emergency on Friday, determined to stop an exodus of potentially infected residents.
In past years, Monday’s Hispanic Day holiday would have seen Spaniards clog highways and trains to reach their beach and countryside second homes. But surging coronavirus cases in the Madrid region, one of the worst infected in Spain, had the government scrambling to curtail those plans.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s leftist coalition government and Madrid’s right-wing premier Isabel Díaz Ayuso have been at loggerheads for weeks over how to combat the region’s climbing cases.
A week ago, fresh restrictions were ordered by the central government for all areas of Spain that met certain criteria, which included Madrid. The rules limit residents to their region or municipality, except