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Partial Lockdown Expanded in Spain's Capital

Αssociated Press

Two neighbours of restricted mobility areas in Madrid due to the coronavirus outbreak cross the street in front an anti-riot police unit short after a residents protest demanding more resources for public health system and against social inequality in the southern neighbourhood of Vallecas, Madrid, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

MADRID — Health authorities in Madrid are expanding restrictions on movement to eight more areas of the Spanish capital despite a recommendation from the national government that the partial lockdown should apply to all the city.

Over 850,000 residents have been confined to 37 neighborhoods this week unless they have a valid reason. The maximum number of customers allowed in shops and restaurants also was reduced to half of the capacity.

The regional government's move to increase the number of covered areas to 45 would affect 160,000 more people.

The regional government said Friday that the designated areas are where more than 1,000 people per 100,000 residents have tested positive for the new virus in the past two weeks, the highest rates in Europe.

Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa says the central Spanish government is recommending tougher measures, including a partial lockdown for all of the city and its 3.3 million residents.

Residents of the areas involved have protested the restrictions, alleging they are being targeted because they are poor, need to commute on public transportation to work and live in dense neighborhoods.