On Sunday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a “final extension” of the state of alert, which limits people’s movements during the gradual relaxation of the country’s lockdown, to 21 June.
“We still need a last 15-day extension of the state of alert,” which was to have ended on 7 June, Sánchez said at a press conference. He also welcomed the fact that the country was “about to achieve its goal” and completely end the lockdown, imposed to stop the further spread of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).
First imposed on 14 March, the state of alert has enabled the government to reassert its competences in a very decentralised country, to limit the movement of persons during one of the strictest lockdowns in the world and to continue to do so now, during the gradual relaxation of the lockdown.
The two-week extension, the sixth since the start of Spain’s Covid-19 confinement period, would need to be ratified on Wednesday by parliament. The minority government Sánchez heads will be able to count on the absence of a pro-independence Catalan party and the support of the country’s Basque nationalists, parties with which the socialists concluded agreements on Saturday.
In mid-May, Sánchez had attempted to prolong the state of alert for one month – until the end of June – but he has since been forced to scale down his aim to two weeks, to obtain the support of a liberal party in parliament.
Spain is one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, with over 27,000 deaths. In the past few weeks, it began its phased deconfinement, which should end in late June or, at the latest, in early July, depending on the regions.
Until the deconfinement is completed, residents of Spain are not allowed to travel between provinces.