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Prime minister urges against all but necessary travel as he pledges extra funds to fight Covid-19

Sánchez, centre, chaired the emergency Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
Sánchez, centre, chaired the emergency Cabinet meeting on Thursday. / EFE
  • The government will inject 2.8 billion euros into the Health service while Pedro Sánchez has urged the elderly and chronically ill to stay at home

As cases of coronavirus approached 3,000 on Thursday, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a series of measures that the government would be taking to face up to the epidemic, as well as advice to the general public.

Following a special Cabinet meeting when the measures were passed, Sánchez advised the elderly or chronically ill to stay at home or in a nursing home as a preventive measure. He also said that anyone presenting symptoms should avoid going out into the street.

To help relieve the strain on the health services (controlled by the regional governments), Sánchez announced a 2.8-billion-euro cash injection.

Before this announcement was made, the Andalusian Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday that they had brought in reinforcements at the Costa del Sol, Regional and Clínico hospitals with more than 176 workers coming in. The ministry has also assured that this number could be increased according to need.

Travel restrictions

Sánchez also reiterated the recommendation against all but essential travel. He also didn’t rule out a lockdown in Madrid, nor declaring a state of emergency.

Flights to and from Italy were halted this week after the entire country was placed under quarantine on Tuesday.

Several services to other destinations have been reduced due to high numbers of absent passengers and this has led to various transport hubs across the country appearing to be virtually empty.

Schools

While recognising that this was also a decision for regional governments to make, Sánchez urged leaders of all of the autonomous communities to close education centres to slow the spread of the virus.

It was announced on Monday that all centres, from nursery schools to universities, in the region of Madrid were closed for the next two weeks. A similar measure was later adopted in Catalonia, La Rioja, the Basque Country, Galicia and Murcia.

The PM called for greater flexibility within the systems to allow for remote learning.