Less than a month before the regional elections, Madrid finds itself with a level of contagion similar to that of Catalonia when it held its elections on February 14. Given the accumulated incidence of 326 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, the increase in infections (2,185 in the last 24 hours) and the occupation of 38% of the ICUs (data from April 8), the matches of Left are concerned about what the epidemiological situation will be on election day. The Madrid Minister of Health, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, of the PP, announced on March 18 some special health measures to ensure that both the 40,000 people who will participate in the organization of the electoral day and the citizens called to vote can do so without risk. But despite the worsening of the data, the Madrid Ministry of Health does not propose additional rules.
The PSOE of Madrid asks the Community Government “to take measures to control the pandemic and stop the growth of cases” in the capital, party sources say. Beyond the special measures announced for election day, the socialists led by Ángel Gabilondo ask the president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, to act to control the rise in infections. “Everything suggests that May 4 may be higher than the one that occurred in Catalonia on February 14 (344 cases per 100,000 inhabitants), we can reach the elections in a very bad situation,” they point out.
Along the same lines, Más Madrid points out: “The best way to vote safely is to arrive with a low incidence.” The party of the candidate Mónica García has requested that, “in those electoral precincts that allow it, the tables be taken out in the open air” to reduce the risk. In addition, they reiterate that Tuesday is declared a holiday, something that the Government of Díaz Ayuso ruled out on March 23. “Not only would it guarantee participation and conciliation, but it would also avoid possible crowds, especially early and late in the day,” they add.
United We can encourage voters to vote by mail to avoid contacts and waiting lines at polling stations. The training of the candidate Pablo Iglesias clarifies that “what the Minister of Health would have to do is listen to the different groups, unions and associations of the health sector in order to implement an effective and safe plan.”
Among the measures contemplated, the Community of Madrid advised the population to go to the polls in a “staggered manner”. The regional Executive recommends that those over 65, vulnerable or disabled people “go to vote in the time slot between 10.00 and 12.00”, and those with a viral infection or suspected of having it do so “from 19.00 to 20.00”, depending on Escudero explained.
The Minister of Health explained that ventilation and agility will prevail in polling stations when voting, and that each citizen will be given a surgical mask to put on top of the one that each person wears. In addition, it has drawn up a plan to guarantee the safety of the members of the tables and other personnel: FFP2 masks, safety distance, sanitizing products, and a protection screen that will be “optional”, according to the counselor.
PSOE and Más Madrid agree with these special measures of the Ministry of Health and that it is not necessary to use overalls for the members of the polling stations that were used in Catalonia in the time slot in which the voters infected by covid. However, they reiterate their call to the Community of Madrid to fully comply with the announced protocols. Ciudadanos and Vox did not answer the questions posed by this newspaper.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.