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COVID-19: Spain becomes latest country to declare state of emergency
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COVID-19: Spain becomes latest country to declare state of emergency

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 14 Mar 2020, 07:14 pm

Madrid/UNI: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday announced that his government has decided to declare a state of emergency for the next 15 days in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak which has engulfed Spain and large parts of mainland Europe.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday announced that his government has decided to declare a state of emergency for the next 15 days in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak which has engulfed Spain and large parts of mainland Europe.

Spain is the second-worst affected country after Italy in Europe which has now been declared the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak by the World Health Organisation.

After Italy, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Bulgaria in Europe and the US across the Atlantic, Spain is the latest country to declare a state of emergency due to coronavirus.

Mr Sanchez said this will give his government power to take wide-ranging measures, including temporarily occupying factories or any other premises except private homes to better combat the coronavirus.

It will also empower the government to confine people and ration goods, according to a BBC report.

Currently Spain has 4,209 confirmed cases, up by about 1,000 cases from Thursday with 120 deaths due to the virus.

"We cannot rule out that over the next week, the number of infections could reach more than 10,000. The government will protect all its citizens and will guarantee that right conditions prevail so as to slow the pandemic with as little inconvenience as possible," Sanchez said.

The prime minister, however, did not spell out the specific measures the government was likely to take in the coming days.

Schools have already been shut down across the country, with many cinemas, theatres and playgrounds also being closed and trials suspended in several regions.

Sanchez expressed confidence that Spain will defeat the virus, and urged citizens to do their part.

Spain's second-richest region Catalonia, on Friday ordered the closure of all shopping centres except those selling food and other 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.