By Festus Oye
News cases of the deadly coronavirus pandemic has forced government to announce a fresh lockdown in the Spanish capital, Madrid.
Madrid residents will be barred from leaving the area from Friday evening.
Restaurants and bars in the Spanish capital and nine satellite towns will shut early, while capacity is reduced by half.
The new restrictions, to start at 10 pm (2000 GMT), though not as strict as the previous lockdown from March, when people were barred from leaving their homes.
With 850 cases per 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organization, the Madrid area has Europe’s worst rate.
Spain recorded a total of 789,932 coronavirus cases as of Friday, a rise of 11,325 since Thursday. There have been 32,086 fatalities. Daily deaths are now around their highest levels since early May but far below the late March record of nearly 900.
The lockdown has led to confusion as a result of political differences between the central government and regional government.
Conservative regional head Isabel Diaz Ayuso has launched a legal challenge, fearing economic damage and accusing central government of exceeding its mandate by ordering the measures.
With Madrid’s international airport Barajas staying open, Diaz Ayuso tweeted her anger at the prime minister: “From tomorrow one will be able to get to Madrid from Berlin but not from Parla. Thanks for the chaos, Pedro Sanchez.”