The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the “real number” of coronavirus cases was probably more than three million.
Speaking during his weekly press conference from the government’s official residence in Moncloa, Mr Sánchez urged Spaniards to show “determination, social discipline and the necessary union” but did not announce any new measures to combat the spread of the virus.
The health minister, Salvador Illa and the regional governments of Asturias, the Basque Country, La Rioja, Catalonia, Navarre, Cantabria, Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha as well as the North African exclave of Melilla have all requested that the Cabinet implement a new state of alarm in order to impose extraordinary measures including overnight curfews although other regional administrations have been reluctant, fearing the economic impact.
Illa called for “clear support” to be able to implement this measure, which would also require a state of alarm. This would mean the agreement of the regions as well as support in the Congress of Deputies.
The prime minister – whose Socialist PSOE party does not have a majority in parliament – says a nationwide curfew would require the declaration of a new “state of alarm” and he wants all regional governments and the main oppositon Popular Party to agree before taking this step.
Sanchez´s minority coalition government of his PSOE and junior partner Unidas Podemos is exploring how to garner support from opposition parties and the autonomous communities to ensure it has the necessary support for the imposition of any new emergency measures.
With the ending of the state of alarm in June the central government passed management of the measures needed to the regional authorities although the central government is now taking a more central role in the coordination of the measures required to combat the virus´s spread.
Yesterday the Madrid regional government announced a two-week partial lockdown to replace the previous central government’s measures that expired today and would have needed a majority in the Congress of Deputies ( Spain´s lower house). The measures allow for a night curfew from midnight to 0600.
In addition the autonomous communities of Castilla y León and Valencia are to impose their own curfews whilst the Andalucian regional government announced a curfew for the city of Granada.
However, Mr Sánchez said the current situation was not comparable to March, when the central government imposed a strict national lockdown that lasted 96 days. The median age of those infected has also fallen.
To date Spain has recorded 1,110,372 cases of whom 34,752 have died.