The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, has tightened the coronavirus restrictions yet again. He announced on Saturday night that all non-essential workers must stay at home from Monday.
"At this point, as we are approaching the crest of the wave and it is time to intensify the struggle," he said. “therefore I will approve an exceptional measure this Sunday in an extraordinary Cabinet meeting that all non-essential workers must stay at home from Monday, March 30 until April 9. They will continue to be paid through recoverable paid leave and will gradually recover the hours in the future.”
It’s the third consecutive Saturday that Pedro Sánchez has spoken from the Palace of La Moncloa in Madrid since the State of Emergency was decreed and he insisted that the new measures are crucial to avoid an economic disaster.
"The idea is that someone who works on a construction site, from March 30, will not do so but will get paid leave instead. This is an essential and necessary measure, and an alternative to total confinement, which experts have advised us would cause serious financial harm.
The tighter measures, which will be approved on Sunday will terminate just as Holy Week begins in Spain.
The Government believes that reducing daily mobility even more will result in a drop in contagion which will alleviate the pressure on the ICU.
The Spanish Prime Minister admitted that there have been times when he's felt completely helpless in the face of the coronavirus crisis, but is convinced that short term pain means long term gain.
"One more day is one less day. One more day to win and one less until we can hug each other. These are very hard days, but they are decisive, then we will have a lifetime to remember that in difficult times Spain was united,” he said.
Pedro Sánchez also pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic did not start in Europe, but said that Europeans are paying the price.
”Europe has not illuminated this virus, but is being severely punished and is now the epicentre of coronavirus and that is why the European Union must live up to these circumstances, it cannot and should not fail. We need proof of their commitment,” he said. “Europe is slow but safe and we call for measures to eradicate the health emergency and facilitate access to health care equipment; common cybersecurity and facilities for the repatriation of Spanish citizens."
The Spanish Prime Minister is adamant that, at this point, help from the EU is absolutely crucial.
"It must deliver a united social and economic response, and set up a war economy and promote resistance, first and then launch reconstruction, once the health emergency has passed, a new Marshall Plan is needed," he said. "It's time for the European Union to step up, we have no global mechanism to handle this situation,” he said.