Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has announced a series of new ‘threat levels’ to combat the further spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Spain, which he has described as ‘serious’.
Insisting that the situation is not as serious as it was before the national state of alarm was imposed in March, Sánchez said that ‘the next months will be very hard’ and that citizens should do all they can to avoid a new national lockdown. He appealed for ‘social discipline’ and ‘team spirit’ in order to ‘flatten the curve’.
Sánchez also announced that the decision to call regional curfews and a ‘state of alarm’ in individual regions would be at the request of Spain’s regional governments. A national lockdown and state of alarm could not be ruled out, however.
Sánchez also said that the number of cases of Coronavirus in Spain could actually be as high as three million since the start of the pandemic. This week, Spain became the first country in Western Europe to officially register over one million confirmed cases of Coronavirus. [Latest: Coronavirus in Spain figures (22 Oct)]
His address follows Thursday’s meeting of the ‘Inter-Territorial Council of the National Health System’ between Spain’s central Health Ministry and all regional health authorities, in which a consensus on a nationwide nightlife curfew was not reached, despite support from a majority of the regional authorities.
Since Spain entered its New Normality phase on 22 June after the central government ended the nationwide state of alarm that had been in place since 14 March, responsibility for public healthcare and managing the Coronavirus pandemic had been left in the hands of Spain’s 17 regional governments.
Earlier this week, Health Minister Salvador Illa had said that there was a ‘possibility’ that a nationwide curfew for Spain would be agreed to ‘control the second wave and flatten the curve’ of Coronavirus infections. But he also acknowledged that such a curfew would need to be covered under a new ‘state of alarm’. The government has since decided not to pursue this route, after failing to find an agreement at the Interterritorial Health Council meeting.
Although an agreement regarding a nationwide curfew was not reached, a document highlighting common measures for all regions according to four virus threat levels was passed with widespread approval and abstentions from only Madrid and the Basque Country. The document details the proposed restrictions per transmission risk level and is set to serve as a guideline for regions that then need to decide whether to apply them or not. The full document [in Spanish] can be viewed here.
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