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Spanish government eyes Covid-19 curfews, but needs opposition backing to extend state of alarm

Spanish government eyes Covid-19 curfews, but needs opposition backing to extend state of alarm
The Spanish government is considering new curfews and other measures in a bid to curb rising Covid-19 infections as the country battles a second wave, with Health Minister Salvador Illa warning that “very tough weeks are coming.”

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Illa stressed that another state of alarm would need to be enacted for his government to bring in curfews across Spain, with a particular focus on the Community of Madrid. The region has been the worst affected in the country, with 281,388 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of Monday. 

The Community of Madrid’s President Isabel Díaz Ayuso has backed curfews across Spain, but said that she did not want another state of alarm. 

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Illa explained that 21 days of “very strict” measures in Madrid have already brought down the number of coronavirus cases in the region, but a curfew is under consideration.

He pointed out that a new state of alarm could not be enacted, however, without the backing of the conservative Partido Popular (PP), Spain’s main opposition party. The measure had not been decided though, he added, saying the prospect was being examined by officials. 

The PP has said it would reject a new state of alarm, making it unlikely Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez would be able to get the motion through Congress.

Curfews have been imposed recently in several other European countries, include France where residents of Paris and other cities are banned from going out between 9pm and 6am and Belgium, which has opted for a 12am-5am curfew, as well as limited alcohol sales.

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Spain’s Covid-19 death toll stands at 33,992, while there have been 974,449 confirmed infections in total, according to official government data on Monday. 

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