• Murhaf Radi, Europe Editor

Madrid shares people's medical data with police to enforce self-isolation

Madrid is sharing citizens' medical information with the police as an "exceptional measure" to enforce self-isolation rules.

As Spain fights a second wave of Covid-19, police forces across the country are being brought in to search for infected individuals and any suspected contacts who are ignoring the requirement to quarantine at home.

The Madrid regional government said that public health legislation allows it to make such use of personal data as an "exceptional measure" in the current crisis. The task for police officers remains enormous in a region where between 3,000 and 4,000 new cases are being identified each day.

"We lack personnel, we lack instructions, we lack PPEs... and time," said the secretary general of the Madrid Police Union. He said the force has been co-operating with the health service for the past month.

"They asked us to locate the positives who didn't reply to efforts by tracers to contact them. We went door-to-door, with just a basic surgical face mask on - it's like sending us to infected people's homes wearing nothing," he told the online newspaper La Informacion.

Madrid, Europe's worst hit city in the Covid-19 second wave, has been placed under a perimeter lockdown along with nine other towns in its suburbs, with police detachments being hurriedly organised to man municipal boundaries.

Madrid authorities believe enforcing quarantine is essential. In Salamanca, police have in recent days caught more than 100 people flouting the rules after checking on 300 individuals who were meant to be self-isolating.

In Lorca, a town in the Murcia region, police have set up roadblocks to check that seasonal workers, most of whom are migrants, are not heading to work despite having tested positive or being told to self-isolate.

Diego Jose Mateos, the Mayor of Lorca, said the council would ensure migrants had safe shelters to self-isolate, after a failure to supply decent housing was blamed for an outbreak in Aragon and parts of Catalonia in summer.

The Sunday Telegraph

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