Madrid authorities say concert attended by thousands followed Covid rules
The president of the Madrid region has defended the decision to allow 5,000 people to attend a concert in the capital on Saturday night despite a recent surge in Covid-19 infections and fears that the festive period could propel Spain into a third wave of the pandemic.
The concert, staged by the Spanish singer Raphael to mark 60 years in showbusiness, was held at the WiZink Center in the capital.
It came a day after Spain’s health minister called for maximum prudence. “We could be at the beginning of a third wave if we don’t take the appropriate measures,” he said.
The concert met with heavy criticism on social media, with many people shocked to learn it had been allowed to take place in the midst of the pandemic.
Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the regional president of Madrid, said the concert had “scrupulously” adhered to Covid restrictions, which oblige venues to operate at no more than 40% of their total capacity.
She said images on shared on social media were misleading and that the WiZink Center had operated at 30% of its capacity.
“If the infection rate rises in Madrid, we will suspend these shows,” she said. “But more cases are being recorded at private gatherings.”
The concert’s organiser said the event had been carefully planned and complied fully with the Madrid region’s health guidelines.
It pointed out in a tweet that access had been staggered, masks and gel had been used, that the air was changed every 12 minutes and people’s temperature had been taken.
The organiser also said the centre was operating at 30% of its capacity of 17,000 spectators.
Raphael is due to give another concert at the same venue on Sunday night.
In two tweets on Saturday, the singer wrote: “Finally the day of my new show has come … I will dedicate to you all the songs that have accompanied us over the course of our first 60 years together. I want to hug each and everyone of you with the music that has always brought us together. I love you to death!”
The Madrid regional government, which is allowing bars and restaurants to remain open over Christmas and the new year, said on Friday that it had taken the “very painful” decision to limit private festive gatherings to six people.
The first round of Spain’s vaccination programme – for health workers, staff and residents of care homes and those with severe health problems – is expected to begin on 27 December.
To date, Spain has recorded 1,797,236 cases of the virus and 48,926 deaths.