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Spanish PM Sanchez declares state of emergency, imposes partial lockdown

The number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) disease cases in Spain has surged by more than 1,500 in 24 hours, exceeding 6,250, according to health officials. The death toll from the Coronavirus infection has risen to 193, with 133 victims in the capital city of Madrid alone.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez declared in a televised address on Saturday a state of emergency in the country amid the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, stressing that the coronavirus crisis requires “extraordinary decisions”.

“During a state of emergency, people will be able to move around the streets only to buy food, pharmaceuticals and basic necessities”, Sanchez said.

The newly-imposed measure envisages a partial 15-day nationwide lockdown, including a closure of all stores across Spain except pharmacies and those selling food and other basic necessities. All public events will be also banned across the nation.

The state of emergency also envisages a partial suspension of all domestic railway and sea traffic, according to Sanchez. Spanish residents are also urged to work from home.

Earlier, Spain shut down all schools and allocated the first package of multimillion economic aid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
Spain remains a hotbed of the Chinese infection, among other European nations like Italy and Germany, that is attempting to prevent the rapid spread of the outbreak. Earlier this week, nations across the globe started suspending air traffic partially or completely with Spain and other EU countries that had been hit by the contagious Wuhan disease.

Madrid is the main hotbed of the outbreak in Spain. The Madrid authorities have already shut down schools, universities, museums, theaters and libraries.