Gov’t pledges ‘shock plan’, COVID-19 cases top 1,600

Spanish President Pedro Sánchez pledges 'shock plan' to deal with coronavirus. Photo: La Sexta
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Spain’s coalition government has moved to implement emergency measures as part of a comprehensive “shock plan” that President Pedro Sánchez says will be rolled out in coordination with businesses and trade-unions to mitigate the economic impact of the rapidly growing coronavirus crisis in Spain.

By Tuesday afternoon, the number of people across Spain infected by the virus in Spain soared to 1,648, with 35 deaths attributed to the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus.

► News Sources: El Diario, La Vanguardia and El Pais …

Senior day-care centres, as well as all schools and universities have been shut throughout the regional community of Madrid for at least the next two weeks and schools have likewise been shut down in the Basque Country’s regional capital of Vitoria and surrounding Alava province, another of Spain’s coronavirus hot spots. On Tuesday, the central government also announced that all professional sporting events will now be held behind closed doors, without the presence of fans in the stands, until further notice.

The central government’s Consejo de Ministros announced Tuesday the cancellation until at least 25th March of all commercial airline flights between Spain and Italy, considered a global coronavirus hotspot with the largest number of cases to date in Europe.

Following the Consejo meeting Tuesday, Spain’s Minister of Finance and government spokesperson María Jesús Montero confirmed the first economic-relief measures pledged by President Sánchez on Monday evening. Montero said that given the virtually unchecked expansion of coronavirus cases in Spain the government will make funds available to those businesses impacted by the virus outbreak, whose employees are required to work remotely from home in order to steam the spread of the disease in Spain.

At the same time, Montero said that the government will step in to help companies negatively effected by the coronavirus crisis to meet their Social Security payment obligations, ensuring that their workers’ benefits are covered in case of temporary redundancies made necessary because of the crisis.

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