Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has clarified the country’s tightened restrictions and the extent of the lockdown, during a press conference this evening. As well as the closure of all educational establishments and centres, announced last week, he confirmed the closure of all public places and spaces, including restaurants, bars, gyms, parks, beaches, museums, etc across the whole of Spain. “The tougher restrictions on movement are necessary to win the war against the Coronavirus,” he stressed.
The ‘drastic’ measures now include severe restrictions on citizen movements, which are limited to buying urgent supplies, such as food or medicines or travel to work for the next 15 days to limit the spread of the virus. “All journeys, whether by car, foot or public transport can only be for emergency supplies, and not social purposes. Yes you can go to check in on a vulnerable family member, and even walk the dog, but going to have coffee/dinner with friends is not allowed,” he clarified.
“We are in containment stage, and our priority is to protect the health of our citizens, by halting the spread of the virus through these tough measures. But we all need to be socially responsible and disciplined,” he added.
He reiterated that the Government will guarantee production and distribution of basic supplies. Establishments permitted to remain open are limited to supermarkets, bakeries, fishmongers, butcher’s shops, greengrocers, pharmacies, petrol stations, tobacconists and newspaper kiosks. All other commercial and public establishments will remain closed, he confirmed.
The Prime Minister admitted that the economic impact of the lockdown is going to be huge, and emphasised that ‘state will provide financial help for both individuals and businesses’ to help them weather the financial impact of the Coronavirus and lockdown. “We will use all our resources to combat the virus. That includes working on a vaccine against the virus, as well as providing all the necessary resources for the heath services to cope with the increasing number of people infected,” he emphasised.
However, he did not rule out tougher measures over the coming days or weeks. “The virus is not statistic and we have to act accordingly, which may mean more drastic measures. All security forces across Spain will now be under the authority of the Interior Ministry. The army may also be drafted in, if necessary,” he added.
“We have a difficult a few weeks ahead,” he stated. “But we are going to win this war. Let’s reduce the price we pay by cutting the number of casualties and those infected by working together and respecting the drastic, but necessary, restrictions.”