Court strikes down Madrid’s partial COVID-19 lockdown

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A court in Madrid on Thursday struck down a partial lockdown in the Spanish capital and its suburbs, saying it violated residents’ “fundamental rights and freedoms.”

The restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus went into place beginning Friday night, barring the city’s 4.5 million residents from leaving the city limits except for work, school or medical reasons.

Madrid’s top regional court said it “had denied the ratification (of the measures) on grounds they impacted on the rights and fundamental freedoms.”

The judges said the health ministry didn’t have the right to impose the partial lockdown — because responsibility for public health matters lies with Spain’s 17 autonomous regions.

They found that the measures in the ministry’s order “constitute an infringement by the public authorities on the citizens’ fundamental rights without legal authorization.”

Cases of COVID-19 are soaring in the region, with a 14-day infection rate of 591 cases per 100,000 people — compared with just 257 per 100,000 in the rest of Spain. The cases in the Madrid region are five times the European average rate of 113 for the week ending Sept. 27.

Without the lockdown being ratified by the court, police have no legal grounds for issuing fines for those not in compliance.

The restrictions ordered shops to close at 10 p.m. and bars and restaurants at 11 p.m.

With Post wires