Spain’s prime minister announced Saturday an extension of the country’s lockdown to combat the coronavirus, saying the measures are “bearing fruit” as the number of deaths fell for a second day in a row.
A nationwide 15-day state of emergency was first announced on March 14 barring people from leaving home except for essential outings such as buying food or seeking medical care. It was to end on April 11 after being extended by two weeks.
“The cabinet on Tuesday will again ask for authorisation from parliament to extend for a second time the state of alert until Saturday April 25 at midnight,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a televised speech.
The extra weeks are “the time that our health system needs to recover,” he said.
Also, Greece has also extended lockdown by 3 weeks as it reported 9 more deaths.
“Difficult weeks lie ahead… If we relax our efforts, the virus will destroy us,” Nikos Hardalias, deputy minister for civil protection, told a daily briefing.
The health ministry’s special spokesman for the virus, Sotiris Tsiodras, announced 60 new confirmed cases, bringing the national total to 1,673, and nine deaths in the last 24 hours.
Sixty-eight people have now officially died of the virus in Greece, with an average age of 74 years, Tsiodras said.
The Greek government is seriously concerned that the public will ignore travel restrictions and flock to the countryside and islands ahead of Orthodox Easter, which falls April 19.
Hardalias said there would be “zero tolerance” for those trying to bypass restrictions.
The merchant marine ministry has already announced that only permanent residents would be allowed to travel to the islands, where there are far fewer cases than the Greek mainland.
The government has also said it could introduce tighter controls at highway toll booths if necessary.
“No transit is foreseen from urban centres to villages… this is not allowed. If it is necessary to close toll booths this will be done too,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas said Friday.
In a report before Saturday’s briefing, public health organisation EODY said 1,524 out of 22,437 tests had produced a positive result, a percentage of 6.8 percent.