The Spanish Cabinet has approved a series of economic and social measures aimed at assisting those who are being affected by the almost total shutdown of the economy to slow the spread of coronavirus and ease congestion in the country’s hospitals.
The Spanish Health Ministry announced that 849 people had died from coronavirus in the previous 24 hours, setting a new record for the number of fatalities in a day.
The number deaths in Spain now stands at 8,189, registered infections have risen to 94,417 after new cases had slowed over the last five days. 19,259 patients have recovered from the disease and have been discharged from hospital.
Despite another record number of deaths, spokesperson María Jesús Montero said the government is confident that the confinement measures are having an effect.
Nadia Calviño, one of Spain’s deputy PMs and the economy minister, said the Cabinet has approved measures for the self-employed that will allow them to suspend payments of Social Security contributions for six months with no interest.
Deputy Prime Minister and Social Rights Minister Pablo Iglesias, of the left-wing Unidas Podemos party, said that people “needed security to deal with this exceptional period,” explaining that the new decree approved by the Cabinet would provide that.
Iglesias announced that the government would be freezing evictions of vulnerable members of society for six months, as well as extending current rental contracts that are due to expire.
The government will also put a micro-loan scheme in action, making funds available at 0% interest to people who need help paying their rent.
These measures, Iglesias said, are aimed at landlords who hold one or two properties.
Landlords with more properties and management funds would have to cut their rents by 50% or restructure them “in order to pitch in.”
Iglesias added that supplies of basic utilities such as water, electricity and gas would be guaranteed during this exceptional period, and that no one would have these services cut off.