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Coronavirus COVID-19

Next Council of Ministers to approve gradual, asymmetrical de-escalation plan with common rules

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Saturday 25 April 2020

In his weekly press briefing at Moncloa Palace, the President of the Government claimed that, six weeks after the start of the general lockdown, and "thanks to the collective effort made by Spanish society as a whole", the rate of the increase in new daily infections has dropped from 35% to 1.5%. In addition, he pointed out that, for the second day running, the number of people cured exceeds the number of new infections.

This "first victory in the war against the virus" is "partial" and "modest", but "shows us the path we need to follow in the coming weeks", said Pedro Sánchez, who recalled the almost 23,000 people who have died in the pandemic and wished those "who are fighting for their lives with the professional and selfless care of our healthcare workers" a full recovery.

Lifting of lockdown measures

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la BellacasaIn light of the entry into force on Sunday, 26 April of the new extension to the state of emergency for a further 15 days, the President of the Government underlined that the general lockdown rules remain in place but with some "minor lifting" of the restrictions of the last few weeks. The first relates to trips out by children under the age of 14, who can go for a walk for up to one hour each day within a radius of one kilometre from their homes accompanied by one adult.

The President of the Government stressed the need to respect the rules and protective and hygiene measures before, during and after these trips out in order to avoid new infections. If people behave prudently and the positive trend in the control of the pandemic continues, he added, as from 2 May people will be allowed out "to practise individual physical activity and to take walks with those they live with". The Ministry of Health will issue an order in the next few days to regulate this possibility.

Over the coming weeks, argued the President of the Government, we will need to continue acting with the maximum caution. "It has been tough to flatten the curve of new infections and we will not risk further deaths by jumping the gun".

Gradual, asymmetrical and coordinated transition

If the positive trend continues and the conditions established by the World Health Organization are met, remarked Pedro Sánchez, "at the beginning of May we will propose the start" of the second phase of the transition - a de-escalation phase, he specified, that will depend on cooperation between the different tiers of government and be guided by the recommendations of experts and the exchange of experiences with other countries, particularly our European partners.

The government has been working for some weeks on the De-escalation Plan, which will be approved at Tuesday's Council of Ministers, announced the President of the Government. The conclusion of this process, he added, should lead us to the "new normality" which "will govern our lives until we have a therapeutic remedy available or a vaccine that completely protects us from the virus".

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe transition, explained the President of the Government, will be gradual - all activities will be recovered in stages and under conditions and limitations that will vary according to each successive development. Secondly, the de-escalation will be performed asymmetrically, by region, since the pandemic has not affected all regions equally.

Lastly, the process should be carried out in a coordinated fashion. "It will be governed by the same rules, although applied at different speeds and in different areas", said Pedro Sánchez, who stressed that "the country went into this together will come out of it together". Furthermore, the public will be able to see the objective criteria employed by the public authorities as the basis for the political decisions that will regulate the path towards the new normality, underlined the President of the Government.

Supportive response from EU

The President of the Government argued that unity against the pandemic is also necessary at an EU level. After its initial hesitancy, he maintained, last Thursday's European Council took a crucial step towards a joint, supportive and resounding response by ratifying a financial package valued at some 540 billion euros, taking steps towards the European Budget for the next seven years and beginning negotiations on a great Recovery and Reconstruction Fund. Pedro Sánchez advocated providing this fund with 1.5 trillion euros to alleviate the economic and social consequences of the pandemic.

The EU is progressing "down the only path possible - that of unity and consensus", claimed Pedro Sánchez. A path, he added, that the political representatives in Spain are called to join, at all levels and regardless of the party that governs". The government and my personal commitment as President of the Government is to all join together so that Spanish society wins and "leaves no-one behind", he stressed.

Non official translation