Spain's central government has reportedly imposed a state of emergency on Madrid and its surrounding region in order to be able to enforce a lockdown of the capital which has recorded a high number of new coronavirus cases.
The move was reported by the state television broadcaster RTVE and other media, citing the left-wing government.
The state of emergency should apply for two weeks, the reports said; an extension would have to be approved by the national parliament according to the constitution.
The central government declared the state of emergency after the Madrid Higher Regional Court overturned the partial lockdown of Madrid and nine other municipalities in the area ordered by the central Ministry of Health. This was done at the request of the conservative regional government.
The central government's move trumps the court decision, allowing it to restrict the freedom of movement of people living in the area covered by the state of emergency, although an official confirmation was still pending.
Work or health
People are only allowed to leave the 10 locations that have been placed in lockdown again with a good reason, for example to go to work or to see a doctor.
Almost 4.8 million of the 6.6 million inhabitants of the area are affected. Foreigners are only allowed to enter in exceptional cases.
With 850,000 infections, Spain is the Western European country hardest hit by the pandemic.
The number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days was most recently 115. In the Madrid region this value was 230.