lockdown in Spain looks set to continue for a little
while longer after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez
told the nation in a televised address on Saturday evening that
he was planning to seek approval from Congress to extend
the current state of alarm to May 9th after which there
would be a "cautious and progressive" return
to normality as the confinement measures are gradually
lifted. He added that the government were looking at
the possibility of children being able to leave their
homes "under controlled circumstances" from
April 27th but didn't go into specific details.
said that the health system has been able to battle
the virus not only due to the dedication of its
staff but also to the public's response in complying
with the lockdown measures which began five weeks ago.
He said that tens of thousands of lives have been saved
and the further spread of the virus has been contained
as a result. But he warned that it could all be undone
with premature decisions and admitted that now is not
the time to lift the lockdown and he would be seeking
authority to extend into May but added it has been
proposed that children would be allowed out of the house
for a limited time and subject to conditions to avoid
infection but refused to go into further details. He
also confirmed that the return to normality would not
be same everywhere as the level and impact of a pandemic
has been different in each region.
outlined the WHO's recommended steps for a return to
normality: a controlled transition and the identification
of people who are infected; testing of people who could
be infected and identification of their contacts; strict
controls for high risk infection areas such as
hospitals and residential homes; preventative measures
in the workplace, schools and universities; and a full
public information campaign outlining the hygiene rules
and social distancing that must be followed. He said
that the de-escalation of the lockdown would be "cautious
and progressive" and guided by a series of markers
which will highlight the level of the spread of the
virus through the country and the stability of the health
system in each region.
also repeated his call for a cross-party agreement aimed
at the social and economic recovery of Spain over the
next few years. The main opposition party Partido
Popular have been unwilling to consider a pact and
have preferred directing its efforts on criticising
the government for its poor handling of the health emergency.
The far-right Vox, which is the third largest
party, has refused to speak with the Prime Minister.
But Sánchez continues to insist that "dialogue,
consensus and union" is the only path to follow
for the recovery of the country, a pact to address the
strengthening of the health system, assistance to companies
and the creation of jobs, social protection measures
and a common position for negotiations with the European
Union with regards to spreading national debt via "coronabonds"
through the 27 member states, something which the EU
has yet to agree.
finished his TV address by stating that the country
will recover - "I'm more clear about that than
anything else" - and told reporters that the lockdown
of Spain was the right decision to halt the spread of
the virus from the most affected areas to the least.
More than 20,000 people in Spain have died from
Covid-19-related complications and Sanchéz paid
tribute to the families of those who had lost the fight
and assuring them that there would be a time to honour
them. "Those families who have seen the loss of
a loved one will get the deserved response from us."
from various sources
Date: Sunday 19th April 2020