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As they close the borders, Spain seeks to extend Coronavirus lockdown beyond the initial 15 days

As they close the borders, Spain seeks to extend Coronavirus lockdown beyond the initial 15 days
The President of the Spanish Government, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, has been speaking this Monday by videoconference with the representatives of all major political parties, whose support he needs in the Congress of Deputies if his government is to extend the state of emergency in force since midnight on Sunday in a bid to control the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, Sánchez has chaired a meeting of the Coronavirus Technical Management Committee this morning, which has been keeping track of the situation since the declaration of the state of emergency, and which will meet every morning in the Moncloa (Prime Minister’s Residence).

In this committee, which will meet every day at 9:30, the four ministers, who have been delegated authority, report to the president following the declaration of the state of alarm: the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, and that of Transport, José Luis Ábalos.

Contacts with all parties

As he had announced, this Monday Sánchez has been speaking to the various parliamentary groups in the Lower House, the Cortes, not only with opposition leaders but also with his coalition partners, Unidas Podemos, sources from the different political parties have confirmed.

This videoconference does not appear on the Government’s public agenda for today, although both the Executive and the other parties will report when it ends.

Alarm status extension

The Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, José Luis Ábalos, has said this Monday that the state of emergency decreed by the Government will “obviously” extend beyond the 15 days required by law because, in his opinion, these two weeks will not give Spain the “ability to win the battle” against coronavirus.

In an interview in ‘Las mornas de RNE’, Ábalos explained that the Executive will seek ways to “extend the declaration”  forcing citizens to stay at home except for some exceptions.

“It is evident that we do not have a certain calendar. If we do not take particularly harsh measures to stop the spread of the virus and therefore the impact on health and life … it would have no effect,” he said.

In this context, the Transport Chief  pointed out that the application of additional measures will depend on the “effectiveness” of those that have already been adopted . “If we are all really responsible and act according to requirements and do not act frivolously, obviously they will have more effect,” he added.

The minister has insisted that the government is “testing the effectiveness of the measures on an ongoing basis”, although they are not expected to have an immediate impact. “I do not think that in 15 days we will be able to win this battle,” he said.

This afternoon the closure of Spain’s borders has been announced with only Spanish citizens, residents and those in exceptional circumstances being allowed into the country.

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