Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez gave a national address yesterday to say the government intends to extend the coronavirus lockdown for another 15 days until April 26.
He said the state of alarm that has confined us in our homes for the past three weeks must be extended if the country is to slow the coronavirus pandemic.
The PM said he believes that is the time that the health system needs to recover and the very strict but indispensable measures need to be maintained, and warned that lifting the restrictions could “lead to a second wave of infections when resistance is at its lowest.
The proposed extension does not apply to the emergency decree announced by Sánchez last weekend that suspended all non-essential activity until Thursday April 9. That means that non public-facing industry should be able to resume after Easter.
Despite the bad news, Sánchez said he was confident that the latest figures showed the outbreak was slowing and the next few days, the curve will flatten and the peak will be left behind.
Once the curve is under control, Sanchez said we will transition towards a new normality and to economic recovery.
A team of epidemiologists has been putting together a plan for weeks on how to resume economic and social activity.
The prime minister cannot extend the state of alarm without the approval of Spain’s parliament.
The conservative Popular Party (PP) and the Ciudadanos (Citizens) have both indicated they would support an extension, while the leader of the far-right party Vox, Santiago Abascal, refused to talk to the prime minister.
Sánchez is contacting regional leaders today to ask them to support extending the state of alarm.
Spanish Cabinet will meet on Tuesday to approve the measure, which will is likely to face a congressional vote on Thursday.
During the national address, Sánchez called once again on European Union to deliver a coordinated response to the coronavirus crisis.
The EU exists to face challenges like this one he said, we did it after the Second World War and we have to do it now, this is the biggest crisis of our lives.