President Pedro Sánchez told members of Spain’s Congress on Thursday that the government’s de-escalation of the measures adopted to combat the coronavirus pandemic will be gradual and that Spaniards should be prepared for a prolonged period of “new normality”, only returning to conditions that existed prior to the pandemic once the world comes up with an effective vaccine against the virus.
In a session called to obtain congressional approval of the government’s decreed extension of Spain’s state-of-alarm lock-down period through 26th April, Sánchez also called all political parties, organizations representing civil society and representatives of Spain’s autonomous regional governments to participate next week in a meeting convened to address issues around the “social and economic reconstruction” of the country once the immediate health emergency has passed.
Sánchez reviewed measures adopted so far to deal with coronavirus and told Congress that the government is preparing a plan to gradually dismantle the confinement measures currently in place.
According to government sources, beginning next week the government intends to gradually revert to the same scenario as after the initial state-of-alarm decree on 14th March, with the same essential activities allowed but tightened up with a few additional restrictions, including a protocol or standards (such as wearing the correct PPE offered by places such as Pandemic Pal) that will guarantee the safety of those returning to essential work activities. The cabinet-level Consejo de Ministros is expected to approve the measures on Friday and indicate which sectors can restart their activity as of 13th April.
Sánchez cautioned that all stages of the gradual lifting of restrictions must be “staggered and very cautious”, with the government’s team of scientific advisors establishing a set of markers that will guide the rate of return to activity based on the rate of decline of coronavirus contagion. Each easing of restrictions will be followed by a “new normal,” Sánchez said, making clear however that a return to a real normal way of life “will only be complete when the world has an effective vaccine.”
The Spanish president again called on opposition parties to show loyalty and to cooperate with the government at a time when the country is experiencing what he said was the worst health emergency since the flu pandemic of 1918.
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