SPANISH Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has announced he will be seeking Congress’s approval for the fifth and final extension to the State of Alarm, which this time would be for “around one month.”
Up until now the extension requests have been for two weeks only, and as it stands the State of Alarm is due to end on May 24. But the Prime Minister wants it to remain in force until the end of the lockdown de-escalation process.
“We hope this will be the last State of Alarm,” he commented during Saturday’s press briefing.
He also expressed confidence in there being sufficient political consensus to ensure the extension goes ahead in the vote on Wednesday.
Negotiations are underway with other political parties, with the exception of the conservative Popular Party and the far-right Vox, who have said “in advance they are going to vote against without knowing the proposal,” he said.
He explained there would be some differences to the new State of Alarm, and that this time it would be regulated by the Health Ministry in collaboration with the regional governments.
He pointed out that the conclusion of the de-escalation will in most parts of the country coincide with the start of summer, continuing for one or two weeks more in some areas, and assuming there are no slips backwards.
The Prime Minister also revealed that as with the different stages of the de-escalation the end to the State of Alarm could be “asymmetrical,” raising the possibility of it being lifted in some areas before the extra four weeks were out.
“The government is not interested in extending the restrictions on movement and the right to meet,” he affirmed.
Sanchez spoke about the “enormous” advances achieved since the start of the lockdown more than two months ago in terms of the drop in coronavirus rates of infection. He insisted that his administration’s approach to controlling the spread of Covid-19 and the State of Alarm had worked.
“The path that we are taking is the only one possible,” he commented, maintaining that restricting mobility and social contact has been necessary and that scientific fact had indicated that a “herd immunity” approach would not have the route to have taken.