THE Spanish government has confirmed to the Olive Press that there is no plan for a phased COVID-19 lockdown in September.
It comes after a news article in the Euro Weekly News claimed there were plans to bring in a three-phase nationwide confinement beginning on September 18.
But a spokesperson from Moncloa succinctly told the Olive Press last night: “This information is false.”
The comment came on the same day the respected Spanish fact-checking website Maldita.es branded the article a hoax.
In a damning piece, the fake news-fighting website said none of its sources in government could back up the claims.
It wrote: “We have contacted the Ministry of Health and they told us that ‘they do not know anything about what has been published’ and that they ‘do not plan into the future’.
“In addition, they reminded us that currently, the decisions are being made by the autonomous regions and they are in charge.
“The Ministry of Health meets frequently to assess the situation but the decisions remain with the regional authorities.”
But the fact-checking is too little too late for at least one business, which has seen a cancellation as a direct result of the fake news going viral.
The rental property company in Torre del Mar told this paper that a family cancelled a week’s stay at a three-bedroom apartment near the beach after reading the piece.
It is a loss of income for the British expat-run company of €1,000.
It comes after the British Embassy in Spain told the Olive Press it was also unaware of any plans for Spain to enter a second nationwide lockdown.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said plans to battle the virus are being adapted as monitoring of COVID-19 continues.
The FCO’s comments came after the article had also claimed that talks on the alleged lockdown plans had taken place with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“We are not aware of the plans mentioned in the article,” the British embassy in Madrid told the Olive Press.
“Governments at regional and national levels (in Spain, the UK and elsewhere) are continually monitoring the pandemic, especially recent outbreaks, and adapting their plans to ensure societies (especially health services) are best able to cope.
“The UK continues to work with countries around the world to share information and best-practice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A WHO health expert said at the weekend that it was very unlikely Spain would enter another mass confinement of its people.
Director of WHO’s Public Health and Environment department Maria Neira told Efe that another lockdown would have to be justified by a ‘very alarming’ epidemiological scenario.
And while there has been an increase in cases, Neira said the circumstances that would call for such a measure simply do not exist.
While case numbers are rising, hospitals have yet to feel the pressure and the death toll is remaining low.
Prime minister Pedro Sanchez would also likely struggle to receive the necessary votes in congress to get permission to shut the country down.
The last extension of the state of alarm just managed to pass while far-right part Vox has already announced it will call for a vote of no confidence in the PSOE-led coalition in September.
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