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Prime 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.

In 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.

Speaking 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."

The 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.

The 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.

Source: Original
Date: Sunday 22nd March 2020





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