- A majority of the members of the Congress participated from home, using teleconference means.
- “We have managed a partial victory against the virus with everyone’s sacrifice,” Sanchez said.
- Spain has adopted very strict measures of social confinement since last March 15.
The Spanish parliament approved an extension of the “state of alarm” Wednesday, with the objective of fighting the new coronavirus pandemic. The emergency measures, in place since March 15, were extended for a fourth time until May 24. The vote was 178 deputies in favor, 75 against, and 97 abstentions.
A majority of the members of the Congress participated from home, using teleconference means. Among those who supported the move were those affiliated to the largest opposition party, the Popular Party. Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, argued during the debate before the vote that the state of emergency should be maintained as a way of battling the pandemic.
“We have managed a partial victory against the virus with everyone’s sacrifice,” he told lawmakers at the start of the debate on Wednesday morning. “We are not here by chance. Nobody gets it right all the time in such an unprecedented situation. There are no absolutely correct decisions, but lifting the state of alarm now would be an absolute mistake,” said the Prime Minister.
For the Spanish executive, the main objective of the extension is to ensure the protection of public health with measures to “limit freedom of movement and avoid crowding or contact between people.” These have “proved to be the most suitable means to date” of fighting the pandemic.
Spain has adopted very strict measures of social confinement since last March 15 with the obligation of the population to stay at home, only being able to go out to purchase essential goods. The country is now in the first stage (called phase zero) of easing measures to combat COVID-19. This includes the partial opening, starting last Monday, of small businesses, such as barbershops, hairdressers, and restaurants that sell takeaway foods.
Last week, the Spanish government allowed children under 14 years to be able to be taken outside once a day. Children could go out between 9 AM and 9 PM, within a one-kilometer radius of their homes, accompanied by an adult, and respecting rules such as maintaining social distance. The lifting of the containment measures in force is scheduled to only end at the end of the fourth stage (phase three), at the end of June or beginning of July.
Spain is the country with the second-most deaths from the pandemic per million inhabitants (553 deaths ), after Belgium (720), and before Italy (491), United Kingdom (433) and France (391). The United States has 220, and Portugal 107.
Globally, according to a report on the news agency AFP, the pandemic of covid-19 has caused more than 257,000 deaths, and infected nearly 3.7 million people in 195 countries and territories worldwide. Faced with a decrease in new patients in intensive care and contagion, some countries have started to develop plans to reduce confinement and in some cases to alleviate various measures.