Seven Months After Lockdown Meant To Break Virus, Spain Throws Largest City Back Into Quarantine

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As the novel coronavirus spread across the world at a worrying pace in early 2020, world leaders attempted to emulate China’s authoritarian model of strict lockdowns.

Nations across Europe shuttered cities and regions, and eventually the countries themselves were locked down.

The measures were a needed solution to the dire COVID-19 health crisis, leaders explained. They also promised an upside to the dreary weeks indoors: The lockdowns would break the curve of coronavirus infections and save countless lives.

Seven months after the quarantines began, it’s beginning to look like the world was oversold on the benefits of the authoritarian restrictions.

The virus was not crushed by lockdowns, and leaders who shut down their countries in March are again battling COVID-19 in October. Now, millions of people who endured the spring quarantine will have to face another one this fall.

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Residents of Madrid, the capital and most populous city of Spain, and surrounding areas have been placed under 15 days of restrictions after a resurgence of the virus, according to the BBC.

The order came late Thursday, as the country’s courts shut down a ban blocking movement to and from the city.

Although the Spanish government’s initial attempt at locking down Madrid was rejected by the courts, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez quickly responded to the ruling by declaring a state of emergency around the capital.

Circumventing the ruling, the move puts residents and business owners in a tough place.

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Under the order, all nonessential travel to and from Madrid has been banned, with the exception of school and work. Businesses have been forced to open at 50 percent capacity and with reduced hours. Churches and other religious institutions have it even worse, with only one-third of a normal congregation allowed.

The draconian rules are creeping into family life as well, and even personal gatherings must be limited to six people at the most.

The order, issued under the same powers used to create Spain’s original lockdown earlier this year, will be enforced by some 7,000 police officers.

Along with the capital, nine other Spanish cities will be affected.

Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida reacted to the news with fire and fury, scorching the government’s decision and vowing that the people of his city would not be bullied so easily.

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“The people of Madrid will respond democratically to this outrage,” Martinez-Almeida wrote in a Spanish-language tweet,

“We will comply with the rules,” he said. “But neither the pandemic nor Pedro Sánchez will subdue us in this city.”

Martinez-Almeida is not alone in facing the devastation of COVID-19 lockdowns. As the pandemic progresses, it remains to be seen if Madrid’s situation will continue to be repeated across the world.

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