Speaking to a local radio station, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who heads the Madrid region’s government, said Wednesday that it was “probable that all children would get infected, one way or another.”
But, she added, school was probably as safe as any place to be as a child was just as likely to catch Covid-19 during a family weekend gathering, or while out in the park with a friend.
“We don’t know, because the virus is everywhere,” she told esRadio. Ms. Díaz Ayuso did not say what scientific evidence she used to predict that the infection rate would be so high among children.
Madrid is once more the epicenter of Spain’s virus pandemic, accounting for almost one quarter of the 1,830 patients hospitalized in the country in the past week.
In response, Madrid is now requiring testing of all teachers returning to school, as is the case in other regions.
The result on Wednesday was chaotic: huge queues of school staff outside packed test centers forced the testing process to be suspended.
As the situation worsens in Madrid, some other regional leaders have been voicing their concerns about allowing residents from the capital region into their towns.
But Salvador Illa, Spain’s health minister, on Thursday ruled out the idea of imposing a lockdown around the Madrid area.
Reporting was contributed by Patricia Cohen, Ben Casselman, Jacey Fortin, Ethan Hauser, Choe Sang-Hun, Jennifer Jett, Raphael Minder, Eleanor Stanford, Isabella Kwai, Katie Thomas, Neil Vigdor and Carl Zimmer.
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