Court rejects Spain’s lockdown of Madrid for being ‘harmful to basic rights’

A no trespassing sign is used to keep social distance guidelines at a vegetable shop in Madrid on Oct 6. (AP pic)

MADRID: Madrid’s top regional court on Thursday rejected a partial lockdown imposed at the weekend on the capital and nine nearby towns to slow the rapid spread of coronavirus infections.

A court statement said it “had denied the ratification (of the measures) on grounds they impacted on the rights and fundamental freedoms” of the 4.5 million residents affected by the closure, which went into force late Friday night.

Under the restrictions, residents are not allowed to leave the city limits except for work, school or medical reasons as the region battles a soaring infection rate of well over 700 cases per 100,000 people, compared with just 300 per 100,000 in the rest of Spain — in itself the highest rate in the European Union.

Without the measures being ratified by the court, police have no legal grounds on which to issue fines for non-compliance — which they have not done until now, awaiting the court’s decision.