PEDRO Sanchez has warned of ‘very hard months’ ahead due to the ‘very serious’ COVID-19 situation in Spain.
But in an address to the nation today, the prime minister avoided declaring a nationwide state of alarm, leaving the autonomous regions in charge of their own coronavirus policies.
“The decision on measures and the moment of their adoption will be made by the regions and will be made known to the Ministry of Health before being implemented, such as those being taken today,” Sancez said, referring to Castilla y Leon decreeing a curfew and Madrid imposing new nightlife restrictions from tomorrow.
It comes after the central government and the 17 autonomous regions agreed on a four-tier system yesterday to guide coronavirus policy.
It separates regions into four levels of risk – low, medium, high and extreme – by analysing different epidemiological and healthcare factors, such as transmission in over 65s and hospital beds taken up by the virus.
The country currently has an incidence rate of 348 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which Sanchez says needs to be brought down to 25.
“We have a long way to go,” the PSOE leader admitted, “But I am convinced that we will achieve it if we have social discipline, maximum resistance, team spirit and a victorious morale.”
Earlier today, health minister Salvador Illa had left the door open for a nationwide state of alarm following a meeting with Castilla y Leon president Alfonso Mañueco, however he inferred that there was not enough support in parliament for the measure to pass a vote.
“We have to all agree,” said Illa, “It’s very important to move together and in agreement.”
But Sanchez said the situation in Spain is not comparable to March 14, when the first state of alarm was decreed.
“The situation is not comparable to that of March 14, when we were forced to decree a mass home confinement,” he said today.
“And what we want to avoid is precisely reaching that point, due to the consequences that this measure has on social life and the economy.”
Sanchez instead pleaded for social responsibility and ‘discipline.’
“We need maximum collaboration and citizen discipline,” he said.
“Our objective is to reduce infections because by reducing infections we are saving the lives of many people, and in this way saving jobs and we are saving companies, and we are consolidating the recovery of our economy.”
The Government has repeated that the main sources of transmission are social gatherings i.e. family and friends meeting up and nightlife and work environments.
If things do not improve, Sanchez said his Government is prepared to ‘adopt any and every measure necessary.’