Spanish Minister Steps Up Pressure on Madrid Over Pandemic Steps

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Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa called on Madrid’s regional government to take tougher steps to rein in Covid-19 cases as adispute over how to control the pandemic deepens.

“From a position of maximum institutional loyalty, I have called on them to review the announced measures and follow the recommendations of scientists and health experts,” Illa said on Twitter Sunday.

Madrid’s containment strategy has provoked a political spat as the Socialist-led government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez calls on the regional administration run by the main opposition People’s Party to do more to tackle the virus amid a surge in cases.

While Illa wants regional authorities to lock down the entire capital, Madrid officials insist on taking a partial approach by restricting movement in areas with the highest infection rates. Spanish newspapers including El Pais werereporting on Sunday that Illa is looking at ways to take over the response to the virus in Madrid.

Spain reported 4,122 new cases on Friday, after seeing 3,471 a day earlier. A quarter of those were from Madrid. Of Spain’s 716,481 Covid-19 cases logged since the start of the pandemic, 213,709 are from the region.

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