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MADRID – The Spanish capital will introduce selective lockdowns in urban areas where the coronavirus is spreading faster, regional health authorities announced Wednesday.

The measures in Madrid, including restrictions on mobility, will most likely affect southern, working-class neighbourhoods where virus contagion rates have been steadily soaring since August, deputy regional health chief Antonio Zapatero said at a press briefing.

“Madrid wants to flatten the curve before the arrival of autumn and the complications that cold weather could bring,” Zapatero said, adding that the “drastic measures” to be taken will be decided by the weekend.

Zapatero also said that people have relaxed protection measures by holding large gatherings, often forgetting about social distancing or masks. He announced that police will monitor compliance of mandatory self-isolation. At least 90 people have been found to be skipping quarantines after testing positive for the new virus, the regional government said.

Madrid and its surrounding region of 6.6 million residents has been accounting for nearly one-third of the country’s new daily infections, which seem to have stabilized at an average of 8,200 per day for the past week.

With a coronavirus caseload above 600,000 and more than 30,000 confirmed deaths for the new virus, Spain has been the hardest hit European country in what some experts are describing as the second wave of the pandemic.

The country flattened the curve of contagion earlier this year with a 3-month lockdown, one of the strictest in the world, but since it reactivated in mid-June, outbreaks have spread throughout the country.

Authorities say they are now doing more tests and that more than half of the newly infected show no symptoms, but health centers are starting to struggle to cope with the number of virus tests required and responding to patients. In hospitals, 8.5% of the country's beds are now treating COVID-19 patients, but in Madrid at least one-fifth of hospital capacity is devoted to coronavirus-related complications.

“Madrid is maintaining a steady level of infections, but we have to take into account the impact of the pandemic in primary care, in hospitals, which is totally sustainable at the moment, but we have to make that line of infections decrease,” Zapatero said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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Real Madrid fire bitter parting shot at Gareth Bale despite Tottenham legend’s FOUR European titles

REAL MADRID fired a bitter and glum parting shot at Gareth Bale returned to Tottenham in a loan deal.

Spurs announced the signing of Bale - seven years after he left to join Madrid - and Sergio Reguilon.

2Tottenham has returned to Tottenham on loan from Real Madrid 2

As the Bernabeu pair both linked up in London, they were given very different goodbye messages from the LaLiga champions.

On Bale's transfer, they said: "Real Madrid C. F. and Tottenham Hotspur FC have agreed to the loan of Gareth Bale for next season, until 30 June, 2021.

"Our club wishes the best of luck to a player who is part of one of the most successful periods of our history."

Whereas Madrid said following after Reguilon's move: "Real Madrid C. F. and Tottenham Hotspur FC have agreed a deal for the transfer of Sergio Reguilón.

"Our club would like to thank Sergio Reguilón for his commitment, his professionalism and his exemplary behaviour throughout his career at Real Madrid and wishes him the best of luck at his new club."

Bale has joined Spurs on a season long loan, with his Madrid contract expiring next summer, meaning he can make the move permanent on a free.

Reguilon on the other hand arrives in a £27million deal, with Manchester United also showing prior interest.

Bale scored 105 goals and made 68 assists for Madrid in just 251 games - also winning FOUR Champions League trophies in the Spanish capital.

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But he returns for his second spell in North London after being frozen out of Madrid's squad.

The 31-year-old completed his medical in Spain after saying goodbye to his Madrid team-mates.

Madrid have been keen to get the Welshman's huge £650,000-per-week wages off the book.

It is understood that Spurs will pay 50 per cent - with the LaLIga champions covering the other half.

Gareth Bale arrives at Tottenham training centre for transfer talks

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