Spain will be in a state of emergency for the next 15 days to better combat the coronavirus

Montserrat monastery in spain

The state of emergency

Spain declares state of emergency over coronavirus, a dramatic increase to the policy response that will allow authorities to confine people and ration goods.

The state of emergency, which Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Friday and will formally be decided by a cabinet meeting on Saturday, will give the government power to take wide-ranging measures, including temporarily occupying factories or any other premises except private homes.

Spain has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe after Italy.

medical personnel on protective gear /coronavirus
medical personnel on protective gear

The current Spanish tally stands at 4,209, up by about 1,000 cases from Thursday and seven times as much as on Sunday. About 120 people have died.

Schools have already shut down across the country, with many  public places also closing and trials suspended in several regions as normal life came to a halt in the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy.

Spain’s second-richest region ordered on Friday the closure of shopping centres

Catalonia, Spain’s second-richest region, ordered on Friday the closure of shopping centres with the exception of those selling food or essential goods, as well as gyms and nightclubs, a senior official said.

The Madrid region – Spain’s wealthiest – has also decided to close restaurants, bars and shops from Saturday, with only supermarkets and pharmacies allowed to remain open.

Spain joins Italy, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Bulgaria in declaring a state of emergency over coronavirus.