The Spanish government is to declare a new state of alarm this Sunday. Prime minister Pedro Sánchez has called ministers to an emergency cabinet meeting to approve the move after the leaders of ten regions called for a legal framework that would allow them to bring in harsher restrictions on movement in the light of the increase in cases of Covid-19.
Sánchez's speech on Friday sparked a stream of requests from regional leaders who, given the change in the pandemic for the worse, want to be able to bring in harsher restrictions on movement or curfews without legal problems.
By Saturday morning the Basque Country, Catalonia, Cantabria, Asturias, Extremadura, La Rioja, Navarra, Castilla-La Mancha and the region of Valencia, as well as the city of Melilla has all asked the prime minister to declare a state of alarm. Several months ago, Sánchez had invited regional leaders to call for the measure if they thought it necessary, but until this weekend none had.
Regional autorities stressed the importance of legal backing for their decisions on restrictions, especially after recent cases in which measures have been ruled by courts to be violating civil liberties.
A state of alarm can be declared for the entire country, as it was in March, or for individual regions, as in Madrid two weeks ago.
The Spanish Constitution includes the state of alarm as a tool that can be used "in health crises such as pandemics" and allows governments to limit the movement of people at certain times and places.