Spain’s central government implemented a 15-day state of emergency in Madrid on Friday in order to authorize new lockdown restrictions in the capital, where coronavirus cases are rising and local politicians have pushed back against some measures meant to contain its spread.

The move comes one day after a Spanish court ruled in favor of Madrid’s regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso, who claimed a Health Ministry order implementing new restrictions in the city last week was unlawful.

Madrid went into an extreme lockdown to curb cases earlier this year and its conservative leaders are reluctant to reimpose widespread restrictions. Instead, they have called for a system that would allow regional leaders to implement restrictions in certain areas as needed.

Last week’s central government order called for authorities in the capital to restrict all nonessential movement in and out of the city and several surrounding communities.

The debate over how to handle rising cases in the capital has ignited a dispute between conservative regional leaders and Spain’s central government, currently led by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Enrique Ruiz Escudero, who serves as Madrid’s health minister, said the new restrictions are “a measure no Madrileño will understand,” the BBC reported. But Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa has said that if Madrid fails to implement restrictions now, more intensive measures will be needed soon.“

We should be under no illusions, some very tough, complicated weeks are coming, during which we need to act with determination to control the pandemic,” Illa said last week, according to Spanish newspaper El País.

The Washington Post

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