Minister Pedro Sánchez has told regional leaders
across Spain that the Government wants to extend the
current state of alarm for another 15 days to Sunday
April 12th - Easter Sunday. Sánchez said that
the crisis was set to worsen in the next few days with
diagnosed cases of Covid-19 increasing substantially
which would push the country's health systems to the
limit. Latest figures released by the Health Ministry
record 28,572 cases as of 21:00 Saturday 21st March,
an increase of 3,646 on the previous day, and 1,720
deaths, an increase of 394.
a televised address on Saturday evening, Sánchez
warned that the crisis is going to worsen over the next
week and that everyone in the country had to be prepared
to face a difficult time. "“Unfortunately the number of diagnosed cases is going to rise in the coming days. The worst is yet to come, and it is pushing our capacities to the limit."
He called on the country to face the crisis with strength
and unity. "We have to reach the end of the
next week very strong. The risk is everywhere but the
damage is concentrated in a few places." This
is particular reference to the Madrid region which
has suffered some 60% of all the fatalities.
about the first week of quarantine, Sánchez admitted
that the crisis "is a catastrophe that humanity
wasn't prepared for. These seven days have changed us.
We look upon all life near to use as life at risk. We
have changed how we view our neighbours who are no
longer seen as strangers. The crisis is bringing out
the best in us." But he added that "we
are fighting an enemy that we are getting to know bit
by bit and that means that we are changing how we fight
it. Spain has followed the advice of international experts
and has been applying the strategy of the World Health
Organisation to win the time needed to improve the resistance
of our healthcare system and help science find a vaccine."
Prime Minister also took responsibility for the government's
lack of action as the crisis developed in the Far East and
spread into Europe. "I am Prime Minister and
I assume all responsibility. Spaniards will be ones
who in the future will have to evaluate what different
administrations have done to defend the health".
Many people have criticised the initial lack of
restriction on movement of people from badly-affected areas
such as Madrid to other regions of the country, particularly
the coast where many people have holiday homes, and
unknowingly bringing the infection with them.
decision to extend the lockdown still needs the approval
of the Congress of Deputies but parties across the house have
already indicated that they would support the government's
decision to contain the spread of the virus.
Date: Sunday 22nd