Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez.
Coronavirus: Spain to Declare Emergency as Deaths Pass 100
Spain’s prime minister says a state of emergency will come into effect there on Saturday amid a steep rise in coronavirus deaths.
Pedro Sánchez warned that very hard weeks lay ahead but he vowed the government would do everything necessary to combat the crisis.
Earlier, the number of deaths in Spain increased by some 50% in a day to reach 120. Infections jumped to 4,200. Mr Sanchez said the figure could top 10,000 next week.
The state of emergency in Spain allows his government to take wide-ranging measures for up to 15 days, including:
- Limiting the movement of people or vehicles;
- Ordering evacuations;
- Prohibiting access to certain areas or places;
- Intervening in areas of industry and farming.
Controls are being introduced at an increasing number of borders in Europe, in response to the coronavirus. Addressing the global crisis on Friday, WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Europe was now the “epicentre of the pandemic”.
More than 125,000 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in 118 countries around the world, according to the World Health Organization. The total number of deaths is more than 4,600.
What is the latest in Spain?
Spain is the worst affected European country after Italy, which has more than 15,000 cases.
On Friday, Prime Minister Sanchez said the Spanish government would “mobilise all the resources of state to better protect the health of all of its citizens”.
“Several very tough weeks… are ahead of us,” he added, saying Spain was “only in the first phase of the fight against the virus”.
“Victory depends on every single one of us. Heroism is also about washing your hands and staying at home.”
Schools are already closed in a number of regions of Spain, with an estimated 10 million pupils expected to be missing classes by Monday.
The city authorities in Madrid are closing areas of outdoor seating for cafes. The Madrid region is by far the worst-affected area in the country with 1,990 cases and some 40 deaths.
In the northeast of the country, some 70,000 residents of four Catalan towns placed under quarantine on Thursday are being allowed to leave their homes, but not the restricted zones.
All but “essential travel” to parts of Spain should be avoided, says the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Which countries are closing borders?
The Czech Republic, Ukraine and Slovakia are closing their borders to foreigners without residence permits.
Other EU member states including Austria and Hungary have also suspended the rules of the passport-free Schengen travel zone and reimposed border checks.
Malta has announced mandatory quarantines for new arrivals.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is shutting all of its land borders and limiting international flights for 15 days, its foreign minister says.