Posted on 28/10/2020

#Society #Spain

Spain enforces strict nationwide curfew to battle the second wave of Covid-19 infections

Many European countries have been hit with the second wave of Covid-19, and Spain has begun enforcing tighter restrictions in order to combat the spread of the virus. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a nationwide curfew between 11pm and 6am, and it came into effect on Sunday. He declared a national state of emergency as the number of active cases have been rapidly increasing in the past few weeks.

Nationwide curfew

Nationwide curfew © saquizeta/123RF

On 25 October, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez addressed the nation about the state of the ongoing pandemic and the new restrictions that would be imposed to tackle the second wave in Spain. Following the lead of its neighbouring country, France, the residents of Spain will also have to adhere to a curfew. Unlike France, this curfew will be imposed on the whole country, except the Canary Islands. Residents may only break curfew for work, medical purposes or if they are taking care of the old, sick and the young. Regional leaders have some flexibility while executing the curfew in their locality and they are allowed to modify the duration by an hour. The local authorities also have the power to close regional borders if they deem it necessary.

Although the state of emergency is ideally supposed to last for a period of 14 days, the Prime Minister will be requesting the Parliament to extend the status for the next six months. "The state of emergency is the most effective tool to lower the rate of infection," said Sánchez. "The situation we are going through is extreme."

Similar to other European countries, he also announced that public and private gatherings had to be limited to only six people. However, he emphasized the importance of staying home as much as possible. "The more we stay home the more protected we and others will be," he urged. All of these new restrictions were made in an effort to reduce the chances of another lockdown as seen earlier in the year. Spain had enforced one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe, but the Prime Minister would not like to take that step again because its effects on the economy have been astronomical. "The loss of life must be as low as possible but we also must protect our economy," he stressed.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Spain has had over one million Covid-19 cases, and almost 35,000 people have died from the virus. Things are not looking better for the neighbouring countries either. France has had a huge increase in their daily cases over the weekend and they reported over 50,000 new cases on Sunday. The second wave is also hitting Italy hard, and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte rolled out several new restrictions on Sunday including the shutting down of cinemas, swimming pools, gyms and theatres.