A million people in and around the Spanish capital on Monday were under new “stay-at-home” orders to contain another coronavirus surge, as the US death toll neared 200,000.
But unlike other nations that are tightening curbs to battle outbreaks, India pressed ahead with its measures to kickstart its battered economy, reopening the Taj Mahal and some schools on Monday — despite having the second-highest caseload in the world.
The restrictions in Madrid will last for two weeks starting Monday, affecting people living mainly in densely populated, low-income neighbourhoods who will be allowed only to travel for essential reasons such as work, medical care or taking children to school.
On Sunday, people took to the streets in some of the affected districts in protest against the new measures.
They sported placards reading “No to a class-based lockdown” or “They’re destroying our district and now they’re locking us up”.
“We think that they are laughing at us a little bit,” said nurse Bethania Perez, as hundreds protested against the measure.
“We will still be able to go to work, and go into other areas that are not under lockdown, where we might be able to raise the infections and also still be vulnerable to infections in our own area.”
Authorities in Spain — among the worst-hit nations in the world — have insisted the step is necessary because virus cases in those districts were much higher than the national average.
Global coronavirus infections are rapidly approaching 31 million, with more than 958,000 deaths.