WORLD Spanish PM sets out plan for scaling down coronavirus confinement


Spanish PM sets out plan for scaling down coronavirus confinement


04:37, April 29, 2020

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez answers questions as he keeps social distance from Deputy Prime Minister and Economic Affairs Minister Nadia Calvino during a control session on coronavirus disease at the Parliament in Madrid, Spain, April 15, 2020. (Photo: AP)

MADRID, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Tuesday set out his government's four-stage plan to scale down the restrictions imposed to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking in a televised press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting, Sanchez said the plan aimed to "recover daily life without risking the health of the people," and was based on observations of other countries and following advice from experts.

According to the prime minister, the recovery would have four phases, with each lasting for at least two weeks, during which no movement is allowed between provinces or islands.

"Each territory will have its own pace, we will advance in each place as the evolution of the epidemic allows. The pandemic has hit our country in an uneven manner, and our geographical and population diversity means we are not having a homogenous scaling down," he said.

The first of the four phases, or "phase zero," will be a "preparation phase," which, Sanchez said, would start on May 4 and involved measures such as allowing children outside for an hour a day and adults to carry out some form of exercise outdoors.

Phase one will allow the opening of certain activities such as the opening of commerce under strict safety conditions (except for large commercial centers), with a "preferential time for the over-65s," explained the prime minister, adding that the health ministry would decide when an area could move from one phase to another.

Phase two will see some schools open to children under 6 if their parents have to work. Restaurants, cinemas and theaters will be allowed to reopen at only a third of their capacity during phase two but can increase their capacity to 50 percent in the third stage.

Sanchez explained the use of face masks for the entire period was "strongly recommended" and warned "the virus has not gone: it is still here and it will be here until there is a cure or a vaccine."

According to Spain's Health Ministry on Tuesday, 23,822 people have died from the coronavirus in Spain, while 210,773 have been infected by the virus.

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