The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Spanish govt under pressure to extend state of emergency
MADRID: With infections again on the rise and Europe’s vaccine rollout delayed over clotting concerns, the Spanish government is under pressure to extend a state of emergency to fight the pandemic.
Activated in October, the measure allows the central and regional governments to adopt measures that curb individual freedoms, such as imposing curfews and closing regional borders to anyone moving without just cause. It is due to expire on May 9.
Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said his government does not intend to prolong it, arguing the regional authorities have “sufficient tools” to tackle the crisis and that a vaccine was now available.
“The circumstances are different,” he said during a debate in parliament on Wednesday.
“The alternative to a state of emergency is a vaccination programme, which is intensifying.”
When it was declared in October, Spain was in a “serious” situation with a 14-day incident rate of 362 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, he said.
Now that rate stands at around 200.
But many regional governments fear that lifting it will throw them into a legal limbo that will hurt efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 and are pushing for an extension.
Regions popular with domestic tourists are especially worried about losing the ability to ban travel in and out of their territory, fearing an influx of visitors from areas with higher infection rates once the emergency ends. –AFP