Spain coronavirus chaos: Madrid erupts as hundreds of protesters rally against COVID rules

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Hundreds rallied in Madrid, Spain, against the mandatory use of face masks, as well as other regulations implemented to stop the spread of coronavirus, on Sunday. Crowds gathered at Plaza Colon holding placards, reading, “The real virus is communism,” and “CDS (Democratic and Social Centre party) cures COVID-19” and chanting.

Police encouraged protesters to put on masks, and dispersed protesters standing on a monument in the square.

Protesters were seen flouting the face mask regulations during the demonstration as well ignoring social distancing measures.

Anti-vaxxer Josep Pamies, who reportedly encouraged the demonstration, could also be seen hugging protesters.

On Friday, the government introduced new restrictions, following a new spike in cases.

Restrictions also include the closure of night clubs, as well as a ban on smoking in public if a two-metre distance between people is not possible.

Fears of a second coronavirus wave in Europe are mounting, with Italy, France and Greece also re-introducing measures to prevent outbreaks as big as the ones suffered in the spring. 

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered all clubs to shut from Monday and told Italians they must wear a face mask from 6pm to 6am in all public spaces. 

France’s health ministry on Sunday reported 3,015 new coronavirus infections over the last 24 hours, the second day in a row in which new cases have surpassed the 3,000 mark.

However, the daily count was below the 3,310 cases reported on Saturday that marked a post-lockdown high, the ministry’s data showed.

A sharp rise in cases in France has led the authorities in the country’s two biggest cities, Paris and Marseille, to expand zones where wearing a mask is mandatory outdoors, while the government is set to propose masks be worn in shared indoor workspaces.

The resurgence also prompted Britain to impose a 14-day quarantine for people arriving from France as of Saturday.

The number of coronavirus clusters being investigated in France had increased to 263, the ministry said in its a website update.

The number of people in hospital was up slightly at 4,860, adding to a rise recorded a day earlier, while the number of intensive care patients was unchanged at 376 after increasing the previous day, the ministry said.

France’s cumulative death toll from COVID-19 for hospitals and nursing homes had risen by one to 30,410, it said.

Greece set a temporary 50-person limit on public gatherings on Friday and said restaurants and bars in Athens and other areas must close by midnight, as the country seeks to contain a recent spike in COVID-19 infections.

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The deputy civil protection minister said the limit on public gatherings would last until Aug. 24 and be imposed in parts of the country where infection numbers have risen.

Earlier, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged young people to wear masks, reminding them that they were not invulnerable to the novel coronavirus and could unwittingly infect their own families.

Recent data has shown COVID-19 infections have started to spread among lower age groups, Mitsotakis said, and he urged those returning from vacation to large urban centres to wear masks.

“No measures can substitute for personal responsibility, particularly that of young people to protect their parents and grandparents,” Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said.

Greece reported 262 new infections on Wednesday, its highest daily tally since the start of the outbreak in the country.

Another 254 cases were reported on Friday.

That brings the total number of infections in Greece to 6,632 since late February, with 223 deaths.

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