Spain Set to Extend State of Emergency as Deaths Keep Rising

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Spain appeared ready to extend a state of emergency after almost 400 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours lifted the total number of fatalities to 1,720.

The country is dealing with Europe’s second-worst outbreak after Italy and the fourth-most severe worldwide. Total confirmed cases climbed to 28,572, from 24,926 the previous day, according to the Health Ministry.

The government plans to seek permission from parliament to extend the state of emergency by another 15 days, newspaper El Paisreported Sunday, citing comments that Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez made during an internal government meeting. The current 15-day emergency was declared March 14 and did not require parliamentary approval. The prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sanchez said in a televised address Saturday that “the worst is still to come” and the disease will continue to spread, with more cases and deaths likely over the next few days.

“We have to remain strong until the end of next week,” Sanchez said. Most Spaniards “have never had to face something as harsh as this,” he added, while commending the behavior of most citizens in respecting a nationwide lockdown.

Spain will do whatever it takes to fight the pandemic, Sanchez said. While he didn’t announce any significant new measures, he said that the armed forces will start working to disinfect retirement homes in the Madrid region, epicenter of the outbreak, and that the nation will import six million coronavirus tests.

The health and industry ministries are organizing the domestic production of medical materials to guarantee supplies, he added.

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