Extension to the state of emergency now awaits congress vote on 25th March

News via El Mundo

The coronavirus alarm status will be extended for an additional 15 days. The chief executive, Pedro Sánchez , announced in a videoconference meeting with the regional presidents today, Sunday 22nd March, that his purpose is to extend the alarm statement for another two weeks, until April 12 . For this, the Government requires the authorization of the Congress of Deputies . A plenary session has already been called next week, on the 25th, in when it could be authorised.

This measure was approved by the Council of Ministers on Saturday March 14th to contain the advance of the coronavirus in Spain. It involves the implementation of a series of limitations on citizens, who have been confined to their homes except for major causes.

The Constitution requires a formal communication to the Chamber, which Sánchez made on Wednesday. Now it is necessary to extend this exceptional period a vote in Congress, which is assumed to endorse it. The initial duration of the alarm state was 15 days, until March 29. During this week, however, the cases of contagion have exploded and yesterday Sánchez himself warned that we are facing very hard days.

For the second time – he did it last Sunday – the chief executive discussed the situation with the regional presidents. Only the Catalan leader, Quim Torra , refused to sign the joint statement that came after the meeting a week ago. The four ministers who are in the crisis committee participate in today’s meeting: Salvador Illa (Health), Margarita Robles (Defense), Fernando Grande-Marlaska (Interior) and José Luis Ábalos (Transportation).

Torra argues that tougher measures and the confinement of communities with more cases, such as Madrid and Catalonia, are needed. This morning he has claimed it again, despite the fact that Sánchez maintains that he has already adopted very “drastic” initiatives, the largest in Europe and probably in the world, according to the Government.

Before those who accuse him of continuing his independence crusade, both for his permanent reproaches to the Government – whom he has not hesitated to criticize in international media – or his defense that Catalonia can make his own decisions, the head of the Government has today expanded the demand of total confinement to the Basque Country, La Rioja and some more autonomy, in addition to Madrid and Catalonia.

The President of the Generalitat, according to the sources consulted, has proposed a large state agreement in solidarity with a number of issues, including the hardening of the current situation. What is the use of having workers this weekend at home if tomorrow they are going to return to their companies and expose themselves to contagion, he wondered.

CRITICISM OF THE LACK OF SANITARY MATERIAL

Torra has also censured the distribution of medical supplies by the Executive and has demanded that a transparent and fair criterion be established for an equitable distribution of resources. This criticism has been signed by “100%” of the regional presidents, including those of the PSOE. , according to popular sources .

“They are all focused on medical equipment,” they add. Also the Basque Lehendakari, Íñigo Urkullu, who this time has not taken his hand in criticism of the decree.

The president of the Xunta de Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has told Sánchez: “We miss less clarity and concreteness. There have been contradictions in health criteria.” In the communities that the PP governs, a notable anger begins to forge with the single command for its management of sanitary material. Privately, popular barons swing between calling it “management disaster” or “neglect.”

All socialist presidents have asked “that all communities be supplied, because it is a priority,” according to PSOE sources. With a constructive tone and offering “collaboration”, they have stressed that they “lack material”.

The extension of the state of alarm has been accepted by the regional leaders. In the words of the Valencian Ximo Puig so that these new 15 days do not become another 15 more. Puig has asked that all parties act jointly, conveying a clear message to citizens.

The President of Castilla-La Mancha, Emiliano García-Page, has also requested Pedro Sánchez to carry out the rapid tests for the detection of the coronavirus, the massive purchase of which is being finalized by the Government, “following a common protocol and in a homogeneous manner” throughout Spain.

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