THE Spanish government has not yet fully closed the door on extending the current State of Alarm that is scheduled to finish on May 9.
Health Minister, Carolina Darias, told reporters today(March 12) that the government is keeping options open to ‘all possibilities’ in order to ‘lower infection rates’.
She talked how the objective remained to get cumulative infection rates down to 50 cases per 100,000 people which has been achieved in Extremadura, the Valencian Community, and the Balearic Islands.
That was taken as a strong hint that the State of Alarm provisions could be extended past May 9 if that national ratio is not achieved, but the consensus is that it would only continue as a last resort.
The second State of Alarm came into force on October 15 and essentially allows all of the country’s regional governments to take measures they see fit to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was introduced as a way of devolving decisions over the pandemic and giving legal protection to Spain’s autonomous regions.
Nevertheless the regions do have to work within guidelines like being unable to start the nightly curfew before 10.00 pm.
The current State of Alarm is very different from the one introduced a year ago.
That in effect created a national lockdown for nearly two months and it expired in lae June.
Carolina Darias said: “The State of Alarm system is working almost perfectly and has helped to counter the third wave of infection.”
The government has also published today the official notification of mandatory regional border closures for the San Jose holiday weekend between March 17 and 21 and the Semana Santa-Easter period between March 26 and April 9.
Most regions were going to maintain their current border closures anyway through to at least April, but there has been dissent from the Madrid regional government.
The order does not apply to the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.