Sunday's cabinet meeting with a limited number of ministers. | Jose Maria Cuadrado

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The cabinet gave its approval on Sunday to the latest measures designed to combat the spread of coronavirus. As from Monday (30 March), all non-essential work is suspended. This will last until Thursday, 9 April (inclusive).

Following the cabinet meeting, government spokesperson María Jesús Montero told a press conference that the restriction on more activities was necessary in order to fight the virus. "We are aware of the sacrifices being made by the Spanish people ... . They have been making a huge effort that is beginning to bear fruit. Containment measures are reducing the transmission of the virus, but we have to go one step further."

The system of "recoverable paid leave" for non-essential workers is an example of the measures that the government is introducing and will be introducing, Montero said. Stopping non-essential economic activity is a means of reducing the virus transmission capacity to a minimum.

The employment minister, Yolanda Díaz, explained that this recoverable paid leave, which is being legislated for, will not be applicable to, for example, those employees who are working remotely from home or to those employees who are already subject to ERTE temporary layoff procedures. Employers, she said, must guarantee full payment, while employees will have to make up the time. All parties must give, she stressed. "It is a period of eight working days, and nobody loses their rights."

Montero added that the government is doing everything possible in diverting national production towards materials that are needed, such as the textile sector dedicating itself to producing protective masks and gowns and the alcohol sector producing gels.