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Government decrees state of emergency to provide full constitutional coverage to measures necessary to tackle pandemic in regions

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Sunday 25 October 2020

The six-month term is considered necessary, based on scientific criteria and expert recommendations, to start to overcome the current second wave of the pandemic in its harshest phase.

The state of emergency is shaped as a legal provision that allows limitations on mobility and contacts to be set so that the regional governments that consider it necessary can apply this with all due constitutional guarantees.

This declaration responds to the request from 10 regional governments (the Basque Country, Asturias, Extremadura, La Rioja, Catalonia, Navarre, Cantabria, the Region of Valencia, Castile La Mancha and the Balearic Islands) and the Autonomous City of Melilla, following a proposal from Central Government.

The regional presidents will have delegated jurisdiction in their respective regions, and can decide on the level of application of the measures of this Decree, according to their situation.

Limitation on freedom of movement

A general prohibition is established on night-time mobility between 11 pm and 6 am, although each regional government may modify the start from between 10 pm and midnight and the end from between 5 am and 7 am. Its application will cover the whole country except the Canary Islands, due to its better epidemiological situation.

During this timetable, it will only be possible to travel on justified grounds, such as to purchase medication, comply with labour obligations, care for the elderly and children and to return home.

Furthermore, the regional governments may decide on limitations on the arrival to and departure from their regions, which may cover the whole or part of the region. Furthermore, they may limit the presence of people in public or private spaces to a maximum of six people, not including those who cohabit.

Both in the case of limitations on the arrival to and departure from their regions and the maximum number of people congregating, it will be the regional presidents who decide whether these measures apply in all or part of their region as the competent delegate authority.

Criteria for action

The regional governments will base their actions on the indicators and criteria agreed on Thursday by the Inter-territorial Health Council relating to the number of infections, the care and public health capacity, and the characteristics and vulnerability of the population.

According to these criteria, four risk levels are established for each region: low, medium, high and extreme. The main criteria are as follows:

Firstly, the number of cases detected per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days. A rate below 25 cases per 100,000 inhabitants is considered a low risk; and above this as a medium risk. A rate of 150 cases is considered a high risk and above 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants an extreme risk.

This indicator is completed with the level of cases in the last seven days, the specific rate of those over the age of 65 - which is the group most vulnerable to COVID-19 - the number of positive cases in the tests carried out in each region and the percentage of cases that are traced, in other words, where the origin of the infection is precisely known.

Secondly, the occupancy level of hospital services and intensive care beds. A very high risk situation exists if the number of beds occupied by COVID-19 patients exceeds 15% of global hospital admittances and 25% in the case of ICU beds

Stepping up coordination

The Inter-territorial Council of the National Health System will meet on a weekly basis, so that its members, that is, the Minister for Health, Salvador Illa, and all the regional health councillors, can assess the weekly situation and establish a coordinated health response.

As has been happening to date, the Minister for Health will appear before the Lower House of Parliament every fortnight to take stock of the epidemiological situation in our country and the measure being applied to halt the spread of the pandemic.

To date, the Ministry of Health has held 182 meetings with the regional governments and has distributed 296 million units of health material, of which 221 million have been allocated to the regional authorities.

Regional resources

The regional governments have been allocated 16 billion euros from the Non-Repayable Fund set up by the government to help them combat the effects of the pandemic, to finance health spending, spending on education, to offset the loss of revenue and to lay the foundations for the socio-economic recovery.

They have also been provided with 5,686 servicemen from the armed forces to help in contact tracing, of which 1,740 have already been deployed.

In addition, a common strategic reserve has been set up with more than 512 million surgical face masks, 57.6 million FFP2 face masks and close to 2 million antigen tests.

Non official translation