Any region of Spain can now ask for new State of Alarm
Regions of Spain, whether on the mainland or its holiday islands, can “go it alone” and reimpose a State of Alarm, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has ruled.
He says the Spanish government will not
introduce a blanket order for the entire country, despite health leaders
admitting the second wave has arrived.
But Mr. Sanchez says he will allow leaders of
the various autonomous communities to reinstate a State of Alarm either to
cover their entire region or districts if they feel this is the right thing to
The Prime Minister also announced today that
he is making 2,000 military available to help tracking teams find the contacts
of people who have tested positive for coronavirus.
Mr. Sanchez said “the
responsibility of each and the unity of all” will stop the health, social
and economic emergency caused by COVID-19.
Regions throughout Spain are now fighting
second waves, with rising figures putting them at the same level as during the
height of the pandemic but deaths are not escalating.
The Prime Minister said the evolution of the
virus was “worrying”, especially in certain areas, but he called for
serenity, stressing: “We are far from the situation of March and there
must be no fear that paralyses us and prevents us from acting.”
He said it was now vital to “bend the
curve” of this second wave with all means possible. The 2,000 soldiers
with experience in tracking are being offered to the autonomous communities
whilst a new app has now come into play which will help identify people at risk
and issue warnings.
“Radar Covid” is already operational
in Andalusia, Aragon, Cantabria, Extremadura, the Canary Islands, Castilla y
León and the Balearic Islands.
“We urge all other communities, which
have not yet done so, to join the digital tracking system,” said Mr.
Sanchez, who also encouraged citizens to download the application.
He believes the system could reduce the impact
of the pandemic by up to 30%. The app informs users if they have been within
two metres of a confirmed coronavirus patient for more than 15 minutes
Any community which wants to reimpose a new
State of Alarm must put its case to Congress for approval. This would allow
them to order even stricter measures, such as confinements.
Regions such as Catalonia, Andalusia, Madrid,
the Canaries and the Balearics all have new measures in place but no official
request for an order has yet been received from anywhere in Spain.
The Prime Minister said the public had to help
fight the pandemic and follow the instructions of all the health authorities
which meant wearing masks, constant hand washing and social distancing.
Spain is now the European country with
the highest cumulative incidence: 166.18 positives per 100,000 inhabitants,
according to figures released on Monday by the health department.
Since last Friday, more than 19,000 new cases
have been registered throughout the country.
Mr. Sanchez appealed to young people to avoid
catching and spreading the virus and said the main focus of controls was on
nightlife and family/social gatherings.
But he stressed that Spain’s health service
was better equipped to deal with the pandemic than a few months ago, with
“medicines and protective equipment.”
“We know the virus better and are
confident that the resources are better,” he insisted.