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Spanish Prime Minister has told the nation that it must prepare to stay confined at home for another three weeks after announcing that his Government has proposed to extend the lockdown in a bid to further slow down the Covid-19 pandemic. However the proposed extension to April 26 doesn't apply to the emergency decree brought in last week to suspend all non-essential activity due to end on Thursday 9th April which means that services that don't involve public face-to-face interaction can resume after Easter.

Sanchez explained the reason behind the extension: "We believe it is the time that our health system needs to recover. We have taken very strict but indispensable measures. We need to maintain them" adding that premature lifting of the restrictions could "lead to a second wave [of infections] when our resistance is at its lowest". However he warned that the lockdown measures could continue beyond April 26 but could be modified according to the development of the crisis. "More days under the state alarm will come but they will not be the same."

However the Prime Minister was confident that the latest figures were showing that the spread of the virus was slowing. "In the next few days, the curve will flatten and the peak will be left behind. We are very close to achieving it. But now it is again time to implore for sacrifice, resistance, to keep out spirits high. When we have the curve under control, we will transition towards a new normality and to our economic recovery. For weeks, a specific team of epidemiologists have been putting together a plan on how to resume economic and social activity."

He also called for political unity and a cross-party agreement similar to that of the 1977 Moncloa Pacts which were aimed at promoting socio-economic recovery during Spain's transition to democracy after Franco's death. "There will be time for political debate but for the enemy is Covid-19".  The proposed extension still needs the approval of Congress; Sanchez and his coalition allies Unidas Podemos don't have a working majority so he needs votes from other parties, but the PP and Ciudadanos have already said that they would support the extension whilst Vox refuses to engage in debate with the Prime Minister.

Sanchez also repeated his call on the European Union to develop a response to the Covid-19 crisis. "If the EU exists it is to face challenges like this one. We did it after the Second World War and we have to do it now. This is the biggest crisis of our lives.”

Update: The latest figures released by the Ministry of Health at 11.30 on Sunday 5th show that the infection growth has dropped further to 4,8% with confirmed new cases over 24 hours to 9.00pm Saturday night standing at 6,023, the lowest rise for almost two weeks. A total of 674 people have died from Covid-19 over the same period, the lowest number of daily deaths for some nine days. Just over 38,000 people have recovered, an increase of 3,861 over the 24 hours to 9pm last night.  New cases in the Comunidad Valenciana have risen slightly to 283 (from 277 yesterday) but the overall tendency is that they are decreasing. There is a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel.

Source: Original from various sources
Date: Sunday 5th April 2020





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