SOLDIERS could take to the streets of Madrid as more than 850,000 residents within the Spanish capital are put on new lockdown measures.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says army troops will be made available to the city council which is struggling to contain coronavirus outbreaks and dozens of new deaths.

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Yesterday, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest against the new measures and there are fears that the unrest will develop into violence unless extra security is brought in.

The new restrictions on mobility come into force today, including the closure of all establishments at 10pm.

Travel within the 37 health areas is allowed but anyone wanting to leave will have to justify their trip.

The police will be able to demand that citizens present documentation that proves their reasons for travel.

Around 200 police officers will be on the streets but in the first 48 hours, they will not be dishing out fines but giving out advice instead.

NEW COVID RESTRICTIONS

There will be around 60 random control points.

People will be able to access a form on the internet that they can fill out to justify their exit from and entrance to the confined zones.

From Monday, across the region, meetings of more than six people are no longer permitted apart from in a work or institutional environment.

In the 37 healthcare areas subject to stricter restrictions, capacity in businesses, academies, sports centres, cinemas, theatres, libraries and hostels is limited to 50 per cent.

Parks and gardens in the affected areas have also been closed.

In the city of Madrid, the affected areas are located in the city districts of Carabanchel, Usera, Villaverde, Villa de Vallecas, Puente de Vallecas, and Ciudad Lineal.

The affected municipalities besides the capital are Fuenlabrada, Parla, San Sebastián de los Reyes, Getafe, Alcobendas, and the entire towns of Humanes and Moraleja de Enmedio.

At this stage, Madrid says it does not anticipate a total lockdown of the entire city, but medicalised hotels made available at the height of the pandemic are being reopened.

The new order for the 37 areas will remain in force for at least two weeks.

“We are aware that if don’t take these measures, the situation will be worse in a few days," said the deputy premier of the Madrid region, Ignacio Aguado.

The presence of coronavirus in these districts is described as "very high" with over 1,000 for every 100,000 people in the last 14 days.

Rapid coronavirus tests are also to be carried out on around one million people in Madrid, and officials are stressing that anyone who is positive must stick to the isolation rules.

The city council says people ignoring quarantine is one of the biggest problems they are facing in the control of the virus.

Around 1,500 have been found to have skipped them over the last few days.

Madrid already has the help of 150 army trackers.


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