Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was yesterday able to secure a further extension to the state of emergency to manage the COVID-19 crisis.

Sánchez told Congress that while the spread of the virus was growing at a daily rate of 35% seven weeks ago, this rate now stood at 0.31%, and claimed “albeit prudently” that other indicators also show that the disease is under control and that the health system is no longer overwhelmed.

This improvement had been achieved with a great deal of sacrifice and by “moving forwards together” and also thanks to decreeing the state of emergency. After this “partial victory”, Spain is now ready for its de-escalation phase, which requires this same legal instrument because it is the only one “that can halt the channels for the spread of the virus when a good part of its lethal potential still exists”, he argued.

He added that in order to halt the spread of the virus requires limiting the right to free movement and the right of assembly over the next few weeks, with the ultimate aim of saving lives and guaranteeing public health.

Pedro Sánchez pointed out that, although they will be increasingly less severe, these restrictions are only possible under the state of emergency – a constitutional legal instrument designed to fight pandemics and health emergencies, as expressly established in the Constitutional Law that enacted the state of emergency.

Phase 1, which starts on Monday, will allow bars and restaurants to open their terraces. Friends and family groups of up to ten people will also be able to meet at home.