Spain’s government will seek a fresh extension of its state of emergency that will last “about a month” until the transition out of lockdown is completed, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday.
Spain first introduced a state of emergency decree on March 14. Officials say that while the outbreak has been brought largely under control, restrictions must stay in place a bit longer as the lockdown is gradually phased out.
The Socialist Party (PSOE) leader argued that the scientific facts have shown that a “herd immunity” approach would not have been successful, and defended the need to limit mobility and social contact. “That’s the logic behind the deescalation process,” he explained.
The country’s COVID-19 death toll rose by 102 to 27,563 on Saturday, the lowest 24-hour increase since March 18. Confirmed coronavirus cases climbed to 230,698 from 230,183, the health ministry said. After pushing four previous extensions through parliament, support for Sanchez’s left-wing coalition is waning among lawmakers and voters.
Some small protests against the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout sprang up around Madrid this week, with demonstrators gathering to bang pots and pans and call for the government to resign.
At the largest such demonstration, in the wealthy neighbourhood of Salamanca, several hundred people gathered, despite the efforts of police to enforce social-distancing.
“It doesn’t matter what the demonstrations are about. The important thing is to maintain social distancing,” Sanchez said.
Reuters, El Pais and The Local