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Most of Spain gets ready to move to Phase One of lockdown easing

A graph of cases is discussed at one of the government's daily briefings .
A graph of cases is discussed at one of the government's daily briefings . / EFE
  • Each region has said how it wants to roll out the revised rules from Monday, as MPs vote to renew the state of alarm until at least 24 May

If all goes to plan, the national government will be preparing this weekend for most of Spain to move to the next stage of its lockdown easing plan.

The move from Phase Zero, which has been in force since 4 May, to the start of Phase One, will be next Monday 11 May. However the change is complicated by each of the country's devolved regional governments being asked to present their own ideas and variants on the government's plan.

In addition, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez struggled this week to get support to extend the state of alarm official decree, which has been in force since 15 March, for a further two weeks until 24 May.

On Wednesday, MPs in Congreso approved the move but with the main opposition PP party abstaining for the first time and promising to vote against any new extension next time. The PP and some other parties are nervous that the government may use the shield of the state of alarm to push though other measures by stealth. Ministers maintain that the state of alarm is simply the most effective way available to restrict the movement of people.

Moving to Phase One

The government is expected to announce today (Friday, 8 May) or on Saturday which areas of the country will move to Phase One.

Up to Wednesday this week, the Ministry of Health received reports from the 19 devolved regional governments, who are also responsible for delivering healthcare in their areas. Officials were studying the ideas ahead of an announcement on Phase One.

Among the proposals of the diverse regions, Castilla y León and Catalonia are most reticent about moving to the weaker restriction of Phase One. Castilla y León wants to allow rural areas to move forward but city areas to stay at Phase Zero. Catalonia wants to scale down lockdown by public health district, not province, and keep most of its region in Phase Zero for now. The Madrid region has finally agreed to ask central government to move to Phase One.