Spanish prime minister approves new state of alarm with plans to keep it in place until May:
The new decree gives regional governments the option to prohibit travel in and out of their territories unless it is justified, as well as imposing an obligatory nationwide curfew between 11pm and 6am.
The government is introducing an obligatory curfew for the entire country from 11pm to 6am, with regional premiers having a margin of one hour to bring forward or back the curfew times. They will not, however, be able to scrap the measure altogether.
Regions will also have the possibility of restricting the entrance to and exit from their territories unless this is for essential reasons such as going to work or to get to the doctor. This would allow regions to close their borders should they have a neighboring territory that is particularly hard hit by the virus. This is an idea that had been floated in the past by the regions that border Madrid, but until now was impossible to implement.
Spain’s new state of alarm: what you can and can’t do
The Spanish Cabinet today approved a curfew from 11pm to 6am, leaving the regions various options when it comes to restricting mobility
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced on Sunday a new state of alarm for Spain, which will go into force today. Spain’s regions will be in charge of implementing the coronavirus restrictions they see fit, and under the emergency situation will now be able to limit fundamental rights such as freedom of movement without having to first turn to the courts for their blessing. The decree approved by the Cabinet today contains one blanket restriction: a nighttime curfew, the timing of which can be altered by the regions by one hour either way.
What does the curfew involve?
It limits all nighttime movement, apart from justified reasons such as going to work, to seek medical treatment or to take care of dependents. The government has set the timetable from 11pm to 6am, but the regions can bring it forward or backward by an hour. This measure will not be applied in the Canary Islands, the Spanish region that currently has the lowest incidence of the coronavirus. So far, the Balearics have confirmed they will follow the government’s recommendation of 11pm to 6am. The Valencia region will implement it from 12am to 6am.
Will there be perimetral lockdowns of regions or municipalities?
This will be left in the hands of the regional governments. They will now be able to confine their entire territory or other smaller zones within the same, such as provinces, municipalities or even neighborhoods. This is compatible with the confinements of basic healthcare areas, which will be introduced tomorrow by the Madrid regional government, for example.
Will there be limits on social meetings?
The state of alarm allows for the regions to limit social meetings to six people or fewer.
How long will the state of alarm last?
The Cabinet has approved it for 15 days, in line with the Constitution. But Sánchez has announced that the government is intending to extend it until May 9. To do so, it will need the approval of the Congress of Deputies.
What is the difference between this state of alarm and that of March?
During the first wave, the state of alarm was used to confine residents to their homes, which they could not leave apart from for work, to purchase essential items, go to the doctor, etc. Restaurants, bars and stores were also closed. On this occasion, for now, none of this will be repeated. Apart from the curfew, citizens will be able to leave their homes and frequent stores and restaurants, depending on the limitations that are established by each regional government.
What measures will each region take?
Spain’s regional governments and the Health Ministry agreed on Thursday a set of criteria for action to be taken in each area. It establishes four levels – extreme, high, medium and low – that are determined by combining eight principal indicators and 20 secondary ones that measure both the incidence of the epidemic as well as the capacity of the healthcare system. There is still no official evaluation of which areas are at extreme risk. But if the barometer approved by the regions and the ministry to the average indicators of the regions, seven would exceed this level: Aragón, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Catalonia and La Rioja, as well as the North African cities of Ceuta and Melilla.