Spanish PM to ask for ‘final and definitive’ State of Alarm

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has confirmed that he would ask Parliament for a sixth extension to the current State of Alarm, which limits freedom of movement in an effort to curb COVID-19 spread.

In a televised speech on Sunday, Sanchez said the “final and definitive” extension, which would come into effect on June 8 and last until June 21, would be “different” and “much lighter” than the previous ones, but would be “necessary” to help his government control the relaxation of confinement measures, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Given the evolution of the pandemic,” it may not be necessary to apply the full period of the extension, which would come into effect when most of Spain will have moved into the fourth and final stage (Phase 3) of the country’s de-escalation plan, said Sanchez.

According to the Prime Minister, Spain’s 17 Autonomous Communities would be given a much greater role in managing the end of the crisis.

“From Phase 3, it will be the autonomous governments that decide how to manage the rhythm of their respective territories, including the change of phase and its duration,” he said.

Sanchez added that the central government would “only control mobility,” and that some regions could consider “lifting the State of Alarm before June 21”.

Nevertheless, he warned that people “cannot relax as the virus is still here and it is a serious threat”.

Sanchez’s request for a fifth extension of the State of Alarm was approved on May 20 with 177 votes in favour and 162 against in the 350-seat Congress.

The development comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Spain now stands at 239,479, with 27,127 deaths.