Spain to Seek Extension of State of Emergency by One Month

(Bloomberg) --

Spain will seek permission from Congress to extend the state of emergency for a fifth time to combat the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said.

Sanchez, speaking in a press conference on Saturday, said he’d call for a prolongation of about a month and hoped it would be the last time as Spain begins a gradual easing of restrictions on movement. Regions of Spain less affected by the Covid-19 outbreak may have the state of emergency lifted earlier, he said.

“We’re still in a state of vulnerability,” Sanchez said. “It’s fundamental to maintain the state of emergency during the de-escalation. We need to continue to restrict mobility.”

Sanchez’s government has imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe, only recently allowing children outside to play or people to go jogging. From Monday, about 70% of Spain will have entered a first phase of the de-escalation of the lockdown in which groups of up to 10 people will be able to meet up and bars and restaurants can reopen their outside spaces.

He said the measures are “the only way” to contain the virus and defended the implementation of a 14-day quarantine on any traveler entering Spain, even if it will further damage the country’s already-battered tourism industry.

“Spain needs tourism but tourism needs security,” Sanchez said. “We need to overcome the health emergency as soon as possible,” if we “make a false step we could put at risk our international credibility that’s taken years to accumulate.”

Spain recorded 102 deaths in the past 24 hours on Saturday, the smallest increase since the lockdown was announced on March 14. New cases rose by 539 compared to 549 the previous day.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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