Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Sunday his government would ask parliament to extend for another 15 days until April 11 a state of emergency it imposed this month to try to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The nationwide state of emergency was first announced on March 14 and it bars people in the nation of around 46 million people from leaving home except for essential outings like buying food or seeking medical care.
Sanchez said the request to extend the state of emergency would be approved by his cabinet on Tuesday and he was confident the assembly would approve it.
"I know that is a drastic measure... but experts agree that it is an effective measure in the fight against coronavirus," he told a news conference after holding talks via video conference with the heads of Spain's regional governments.
The announcement comes after Spain announced 394 new deaths caused by the pandemic, raising to 1,720 the official death toll in Europe's worst-hit country after Italy, a 30 percent increase over the previous day.
The number of confirmed cases of the disease rose by 3,646, or 14.6 per cent, to 28,572, according to health ministry figures, straining Spain's health care system.
Sanchez has said his country's situation was now the most difficult since the 1936-39 civil war, and he warned that the outbreak would worsen.
"We must prepare ourselves emotionally and psychologically for very hard days ahead," he told the nation in a televised address late on Saturday.
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