Council of Ministers. Coronavirus COVID-19.

Government decrees state of emergency to stop spread of coronavirus COVID-19

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Saturday 14 March 2020

The country is employing this mechanism, provided for in Article 116 of the Constitution, in order to guarantee that the health of citizens is protected, to contain the disease and to bolster the public health system.

"For us, people's health lies at the very heart of our priorities", remarked the President of the Government at a press briefing following the Council of Ministers.

The decree guarantees the supply of food and promotes measures for social distance, while allowing movement for basic needs. Compliance with the measures decreed will be upheld by the State law enforcement agencies, and by local and regional police forces, which will come under the direct orders of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Armed Forces may also be required to take action.

The President of the Government also announced that the next Council of Ministers will approve new measures for economic and scientific support, in addition to those already active in the Economic Action Plan that came into force on 10 March. This will specifically be implemented in four areas: support for workers, independent contractors, business owners, and vulnerable families and groups; mechanisms will be made more flexible to temporarily adjust activity to avoid lay-offs; to provide support for the economic activity of companies to guarantee liquidity and, lastly, to provide support for research into a coronavirus vaccination.

At the press briefing, the President of the Government expressed his recognition of healthcare professionals, whom he considers are setting an example of heroism in their commitment and work in recent days, recognition that he extended to the public authorities and State law enforcement agencies.

He also thanked researchers, the world of culture, business owners and independent contractors, the media, blood donors, families and those who care for vulnerable people, for their collaboration in their respective areas in the fight that we will win if we act together.

Content of decree

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la BellacasaDuring the period established, people may only drive alone and activities are limited to basic needs, such as buying food or medication, attending health centres and financial institutions, returning to one's primary residence and caring for vulnerable people. Another exception is to travel to work.

Passenger transport, both public and private, will be reduced by half over the next 15 days, except for suburban railway services, which will be maintained. Passenger transport vehicles will continue with their daily cleaning routine based on the recommendations of the Ministry of Health.

The supply of food will be guaranteed, not only in terms of the functioning of production centres, but also the whole distribution chain. In particular, food transport vehicles may be accompanied, if necessary, and health corridors established for the arrival and departure of products. Customs will also prioritise the transport of basic need products.

Similarly, the supply of products necessary for public health will be guaranteed, and the Ministry of Health may give the necessary orders to make this effective.

Hotel and catering outlets may only provide home delivery services, while other types of premises for shows, or where cultural, artistic, sporting or similar activities will be suspended during this period.

Furthermore, classroom activities will be suspended at all education levels in favour of online education activities during this period.

National Health System bolstered

The Minister for Health will have civilian public authorities under his direct command throughout the country, particularly health authorities, to guarantee full availability and better territorial distribution of technical and human resources. Hence, all civilian and military, public and private, resources will be made available to the Minister for Health.

Period of application

The declaration of the state of emergency will affect the whole country for the next 15 calendar days, which may then be extended in the terms and with the requirements provided for in the application legislation. The decree will come into force at the time of its publication in the Official State Gazette.

Non official translation