Coronavirus in Spain full update

Coronavirus in Spain full update

The latest official figures* for Coronavirus (Covid-19) released by Spain’s Health Ministryin Madrid at 11am on Thursday 7 May confirm that 26,070 people have now died from the pandemic in Spain, up by 213 on yesterday.

Wednesday had seen an increase of 244 Coronavirus-related deaths over Tuesday. Tuesdayhad been an increase of 185 over Monday. Monday had been 164 – the lowest figure since 18 March.

The current peak of recorded deaths related to Coronavirus in a 24-hour period in Spain was on 2 April, when 950 deaths were registered.

Official figures released daily by the Spanish Health Ministry are for the total number of people who have tested positive for Coronavirus only through a PCR test (polymerase chain reaction). That figure for Thursday 7 May is 221,447 – an increase of 754 over yesterday.

Wednesday’s figure for the increase of infections tested only through PCR had been 685 over Tuesday. Tuesday’s comparative figure had been 867 over Monday. Monday had been 356.

A total figure also released today by the ministry for those who have tested positive through PCR and antibody testing, however, is 256,855 (221,447 PCR; 35,408 antibody).

The current peak of recorded infections for a 24-hour period in Spain was on 31 March, when 9,222 new cases were registered (including from PCR and antibody).

128,511 people have now made a full recovery.

With regards the official figures released by the central Health Ministry for each region of Spain, there have been discrepancies in the data released independently by some of those regions, particularly for Madrid and Catalonia. Please refer to *Health Ministry data and regional discrepancies below.

Of the official figures released by the ministry today – and based only on the total 221,447 confirmed cases through PCR testing – there are now 63,870 cases in the Madrid region and where 8,504 have died (from the total 26,070 across the country). There are now 51,190 cases in Catalonia and where 5,394 have died.

There are now 13,041 known cases in the Basque Country (1,383 deaths), 12,268 in Andalusia (1,294), 16,184 in Castilla La Mancha (2,677) and 10,592 in the Valencia region (1,303).

Figures for those infected with Coronavirus in other regions are now as follows: Aragón 5,258 (800 deaths), Asturias 2,326 (292 deaths), Balearic Islands 1,929 (201), Canary Islands 2,235 (144), Cantabria 2,220 (200), Castilla y León 17,625 (1,864), Ceuta 109 (4), Extremadura 2,877 (467), Galicia 9,134 (586), Melilla 119 (2), Murcia 1,501 (137), Navarra 4,983 (480) and La Rioja 3,986 (338).

A full breakdown in Spanish of the data per region, together with age group statistics can be found by clicking here. Please also see Health Ministry data and discrepancies below.

Barcelona police
Whilst certain restrictions are being lifted across Spain, the lockdown has been extended until 24 May, and many police controls are still in place. (Photo courtesy of Barcelona’s local police, the Guardia Urbana @barcelona_GUB)

CORONAVIRUS in SPAIN – latest updates

Spain started Phase Zero of the government’s ‘four phase’ de-escalation plans to lift lockdown restrictions from Monday 4 May – and which was to last for ‘at least a week’.

We have published all the key rules and guidance regarding the Four Phases of the Spanish government’s plans for the lifting of lockdown measures in a separate report. It is regularly updated as and when new measures are officially announced. The report can be found here: Lifting of lockdown in Spain – full details of all phases.

Spanish Congress votes to extend ‘state of alarm’

On Wednesday the Spanish Congress voted to officially extend the current ‘state of alarm’ lockdown in the country until 24 May. Votes in favour of the extension were 178, with 75against and 97 abstentions. It is the fourth time that the lockdown has been extended, after starting on 14 March.

The overall lockdown will continue at least until 24 May whilst Spain also continues with the ‘four phase de-escalation plan‘ of gradually lifting restrictions, depending on the progress of each region.

On Thursday, Spain’s first deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo said in an interview that it was almost certain that Spain would still need ‘some more weeks’ of lockdown even further than 24 May.

The session in the Spanish Congress on Wednesday started with a minute’s silence for the victims of Coronavirus. In his opening address, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchezannounced that Spain would have an official period of mourning once the majority of the regions were in Phase One of the de-escalation plan.

He also said that once the country reached the phase of the ‘new normality’, there would be an official public memorial held for the victims.

In his appeal for an extension to the lockdown, Sánchez said that ‘there aren’t any absolutely correct decisions’, but that ‘ignoring the risk posed by the pandemic’ and ‘lifting the state of alarm now would be an absolute, total mistake and unforgivable’.

Pedro Sánchez
Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez in the Congress on 6 May 2020. (Photo

He also appealed to the regions of Spain to act with ‘fiscal co-responsibility’ once his government transfers the Coronavirus relief funds to the regional governments.

Last week the Spanish prime minister announced that the central government was allocating a special fund of €16bn for the regions. From that total, €10bn would be to support healthcare, €1bn on social welfare and €5n to help the economic recovery.

In Congress Sánchez said that whilst the spread of Coronavirus in Spain had been growing at a daily rate of 35% seven weeks ago, this rate now stands at 0.31%. He claimed ‘albeit prudently’ that indications showed that the disease was under control in Spain and that the health system was no longer overwhelmed.

The improvement, he said, had been achieved with ‘a great deal of sacrifice’ and by ‘moving forwards together’, thanks to ‘decreeing the state of alarm’. After this ‘partial victory’, Sánchezsaid that Spain could now propose its de-escalation phase.

Sánchez insisted that in order to halt the spread of the virus, it required ‘limiting the right to free movement and the right of assembly’ over the next few weeks, with the ultimate aim of saving lives and guaranteeing public health.

He also pointed out that, although they will be increasingly less severe, the restrictions ‘are only possible under the state of alarm’ – a constitutional legal instrument ‘designed to fight pandemics and health emergencies, as expressly established in the Constitutional Law that enacted the state of emergency’.

Sánchez is the head of the socialist PSOE party and currently leads a coalition government in Spain with the left-wing Podemos group.

The government succeeded in Wednesday’s vote with the support of the Ciudadanos (Cs)party and the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV).

The right-wing People’s Party (PP) abstained in the vote. The Catalan pro-independence parties and the far-right Vox party voted against.

Inés Arrimadas, leader of the Ciudadanos (Cs) party, had announced on Tuesday evening that her MPs would vote in favour of the extension, but with some conditions.

Arrimadas insisted that the government reports weekly on the progress of the de-escalation with her party.

On Wednesday morning the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) also confirmed its support, in exchange for obliging Spain’s central government to agree upon the de-escalation of lockdown measures with regional governments.

Spain originally commenced its lockdown for two weeks from 14 March, with measures that confined everyone to their homes apart from leaving to purchase food or medication, or to go to their place of work only if they could not perform their duties from home. After one week, these initial measures were then extended until 12 April, then for a second time until 26 April – and then until 9 May.

Spanish Congress
A minute’s silence being held in the Spanish Congress before the start of the session on 9 April 2020. (Photo Spanish Congress /

During the overall lockdown period, from Monday 30 March until after Easter, further measures were introduced ordering all non-essential workers in Spain to also remain at home. Following the Easter break, industrial and construction workers, as well as non-essential employees in sectors where working from home wasn’t possible, started a gradual return to work.

With the relaxing of restrictions for children from Sunday 26 April – after 43 days confined at home – they were allowed out for an hour accompanied by a parent, guardian or elder sibling. From Saturday 2 May – after 48 days in confinement – adults across Spain were allowed out to walk and exercise during set time slots. Now Spain is in the initial Phase Zero of the Spanish government’s ‘four-phase de-escalation plan‘ to relax lockdown restrictions over a maximum 8-week period.

ALSO READ: Lifting of lockdown in Spain – full details of all phases

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*Health Ministry data

Since 24 April, the Spanish Health Ministry changed its criteria for presenting its Coronavirus statistics each day, to only include the number of infections of those tested via PCR (polymerase chain reaction).

Previously, the ministry had also stipulated to Spain’s regional health authorities how the overall data should be collated, as some regions had been using different methods to collate their own figures.

In Catalonia, for example, the regional health department had only previously been counting figures for those who had died from Coronavirus in hospitals. This was then changed to include figures for those who had also died in nursing homes, social health centres or elderly residences, as well as at home.

Following discrepancies in the way that data has been collated, the Spanish government published an order in its Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE) to clarify the criteria that must be used.

All regions must now report deaths and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions in the same way. A victim can only be counted in the death tally if they have tested positive for Covid-19 via a PCR (polymerase chain reaction testing) or rapid test.

Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa
Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa

The Health Ministry has also requested that each region send in the total number of infections divided into symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. In addition, they also require the number of PCR tests carried out from each region, the total number of people that have required hospital treatment, including intensive care, as well as the number of patients who have been discharged.

Salvador Illa, the Spanish Health Minister, said that, ‘Spain is following a very strict definition of cases in line with international authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 and then dies is considered a Coronavirus fatality’.

Spain’s PM gears up for fight to extend state of alarm

Spain’s PM gears up for fight to extend state of alarm

Faced with political opposition to the state of alarm it declared in mid-March to battle the coronavirus, the Spanish government is seeking to extend its emergency powers by framing an upcoming vote in Congress as a choice between “state of alarm or chaos.”

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who heads a minority coalition government with the leftist Unidas Podemos, will seek another extension to the emergency declaration that underpins one of Europe’s tightest lockdowns. The state of alarm must be approved by Congress every two weeks, and the current period ends on May 9.

The government has been easing some of the confinement measures in recent days as part of a gradual deescalation plan, and now allows citizens out for walks and exercise for limited periods of time. On Monday, small businesses reopened under certain conditions. Spain has been one of the world’s hardest hit countries, with Covid-19 claiming 25,428 lives according to the official count, which does not include people who died with symptoms but were not tested.

But the leader of the main opposition Popular Party (PP), Pablo Casado, said on Monday that “prolonging the state of alarm beyond a 60-day period makes no sense.” And the head of Ciudadanos (Citizens), Inés Arrimadas, has asked the Spanish leader for an exit plan from “a constitutional tool that facilitates the restriction of fundamental rights.” A day earlier, regional leaders also rejected the idea of prolonging a situation that temporarily increases central powers to deal with the coronavirus crisis.


On Monday, the government went on the offensive with the message that if the PP does not vote in favor of a new extension to the state of alarm on Wednesday, it will be dodging its responsibility, since the PP holds power in several key regions such as Madrid, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The state of alarm is indispensable. And it works, There are 22 countries with similar systems,” said Health Minister Salvador Illa at a news conference on Monday afternoon. “Let’s not conduct experiments that could lead to chaos.”

Health Minister Salvador Illa (l) and Transportation Minister José Luis Ábalos at a joint press briefing on Monday.
Health Minister Salvador Illa (l) and Transportation Minister José Luis Ábalos at a joint press briefing on Monday.EFE

Transportation Minister José Luis Ábalos went further. “I ask the PP not to allow itself to get dragged down by those who rely on hoaxes,” he said, alluding to the far-right party Vox, which is the third-largest force in the lower house of parliament. “If it does, it will have to answer to citizens if there is greater contagion. For the PP to wash its hands of the decree of alarm is tantamount to condemning us all to chaos.”

The executive still believes that the extension will get greenlighted in any case, because the opposite would require a collective “no” vote from the PP, Vox, Ciudadanos and the Catalan separatist parties Together for Catalonia (JuntsxCat) and Catalan Republican Left (ERC), an unlikely scenario.

Instead, the Sánchez administration is trying to turn the vote into an image problem for the PP, which is the only European opposition party that does not support an extension to an extraordinary measure that serves to limit citizen movement.

“The prime minister has explained to Casado that if the state of alarm is no longer in effect, some people will have to go back to work, others back to their studies, and the ERTEs [temporary layoff schemes that guarantee jobs will be maintained] will no longer have a force majeure reason to justify them,” insisted Ábalos. “All efforts would be lost, because we would lack the legal framework. Casado has not offered an alternative plan because there is none.”

Ambiguous position

Casado has not yet made it clear which way the PP will vote, but he has suggested that his party might abstain. “At the present time, with the information in our power, we cannot support this extension,” he said in a radio interview on Onda Cero.

“The government is taking Spaniards hostage and we will not tolerate it. It is immoral,” he added, alluding to the fact that the ERTE temporary layoff scheme will be state-funded as long as the state of alarm remains in place. Hundreds of companies have filed for ERTEs since the beginning of the pandemic, either sending home or reducing the working hours of their employees.

Ciudadanos leader Inés Arrimadas at a video appearance on Sunday.
Ciudadanos leader Inés Arrimadas at a video appearance on Sunday. EFE

The PP leader feels it is possible to keep central power and mobility restrictions in place without the need for the state of alarm. “Sánchez must adapt existing legislation on public health, civil protection and national security so that the single healthcare command and the mobility limits between provinces can be implemented without the limits to fundamental rights involved in a state of alarm.”

Inés Arrimadas, leader of Ciudadanos – a center-right party affiliated with the European liberals – wants to see an exit plan from the state of alarm. In a virtual news conference, Arrimadas asked the government to disassociate the state aid for self-employed workers, employees and businesses from the state of alarm. Just like Casado, she did not specify which way her party will vote on Wednesday but said that Ciudadanos will act “responsibly” and “will not endanger Spaniards by taking away their protection.”

Spain allocates time slots for outdoor activity

Spain allocates time slots for outdoor activity

Spanish health authorities on Thursday announced new rules for outdoor activity for long-confined citizens, and the time slots when each of these outings will be allowed.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday afternoon, Health Minister Salvador Illa said that starting on Saturday, adults may go out for individual exercise once a day, without making contact with third parties, and within their own municipality of residence. All kinds of sports are allowed as long as they are practiced individually.

Adults may also go out on one-hour walks, either alone or with one other member of their household, as long as they remain within a one-kilometer radius of their home

Both of these activities must take place between 6am and 10 am, or between 8pm and 11pm.

As for outings with children, which have been allowed since Sunday of last week, these will now have to take place between 12 noon and 7pm.

People who need to go out with a caregiver and seniors over 70 years of age have their own time slots of 10 am to noon and 7pm to 8pm.

In municipalities with fewer than 5,000 residents, these time frames will not apply, and all activities may be conducted between 6am and 11pm, as “there is no risk of crowding,” said Illa.

The new normal

A man out for a walk with two children in downtown Valencia on Wednesday.


A man out for a walk with two children in downtown Valencia on Wednesday. MANUEL BRUQUE / EFE

The move is part of a broader scheme to gradually scale down one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns. Announced on Tuesday, the Plan for the Transition to a New Normality is a four-phase program that envisions a gradual and asymmetric easing of restrictions that will not necessarily take place everywhere at the same time.

“The starting point for Madrid and Catalonia is a little more complicated than in other regions,” said Fernando Simón, head of Spain’s health emergency coordination center. “It is possible that measures will be delayed a bit longer there, although it will depend on how the epidemic evolves.”

The Spanish Health Ministry reported on Thursday that the number of daily coronavirus deaths has fallen to 268, the lowest figure since March 20 and down from a peak of 950 overnight fatalities on April 2. Spain has been under a strict lockdown since March 14, when Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez declared a state of alarm that he has been extending in two-week periods with congressional support.

Starting this Saturday, adults will be allowed to go outside everywhere in Spain for daily walks and exercise. Since Sunday of last week, children under the age of 14 have been allowed to go out for supervised walks within a one-kilometer radius of their homes and for no longer than an hour.

On Monday, Illa met with regional health chiefs to discuss proposals for how outdoor activity should be regulated. Many of these regional leaders argued that time slots should be set in order to avoid crowds, after photos on Sunday showed families allegedly breaking social distancing measures. The government, however, insisted on Monday that no serious breaches were committed on the first day of children’s outings.

Spain’s prime minister announces coronavirus deescalation measures

Spain’s prime minister announces coronavirus deescalation measures

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez held a press conference on Tuesday evening to explain his government’s plans for the deescalation of coronavirus confinement measures in Spain. These include ongoing mobility limits until the deescalation is over, potentially at the end of June, meaning people will, for now, still not be able to visit family members or their second residences if they are in another province.

Sánchez began by expressing his sorrow for the loss to Spanish society of the victims of the coronavirus, before explaining how Spain had managed to “flatten the curve of the spread of the epidemic.”

“The ‘Plan for the Transition Toward a New Normality,’ on which we have been working for nearly a month, was today approved by the Cabinet,” he continued. “We have taken into account the lessons from other places, but adapting them to the diversity and the reality of our country.”

The prime minister stated that the “only objective of this deescalation plan is to activate Spain protecting the health and lives of Spaniards.”

The deescalation would be, he continued, “gradual, asymmetrical – according to regions – and coordinated.” He committed to paying proper tribute to the victims of the coronavirus – officially 23,822, according to the latest figures – when the pandemic is defeated.

“There will be no mobility between provinces or islands until normality returns,” he explained, adding that there would be four phases, but with no set dates so as to be flexible according to the situation.

Each phase of the deescalation plan will last at least two weeks, and in the best-case scenario, the process will last eight weeks in all of Spain

​Phase 0, he said, will begin on May 4, and will involve the reopening of small businesses such as restaurants that can offer food to take away, and places that can take bookings. This will include establishments such as hardware stores, government sources cited as an example. Customers would have to call and make an appointment to be able to buy a particular product. Only one customer would be permitted in the premises at a time and would be served by a sales clerk behind a screen or a counter.

This phase will also include the reopening of hairdressers, albeit with employees using the “maximum level of individual protection,” the same sources said, such as masks and gloves.

Individual classes will also be allowed in gyms, as well as individual training for federated sports players and professional leagues.

Phase 1, the prime minister continued, would “allow in each defined territory the partial reopening of small businesses under strict safety measures, but not large shopping malls, where big crowds could form.”

He added that this also included the opening of hotels and tourist apartments, not including common areas. Cafés and restaurants will also be able to open their outdoor sidewalk sections under this phase, at 30% of capacity, but entry inside will not be permitted.

Mobility within a province will also be permitted under Phase 1. This means that if the first phase lasts the time expected, people could begin to visit friends and family within the same province from May 11 at the earliest.

There will be a “timetable for the over-65s” to shop in retail establishments, he added, given that they are an at-risk group from the Covid-19 disease, while the use of masks on public transport “will be highly recommended.”

Religious sites such as churches will be able to open in phase 1, with a limit of 30% of their capacity, the prime minister said.

“By the end of June, as a country we will be in the new normality if the evolution of the epidemic is under control in all territories

Phase 2, meanwhile, will see hostelry establishments able to open their dining areas, at a third of their capacity. As for schools, they will not fully reopen until September, but Sánchez explained that they would offer a guarantee that children aged under six can attend classes if their parents have to go to work, and so that students can complete their university application processes and exams.

Sports players will also have fewer restrictions under Phase 2.

“Cultural events will be possible with fewer than 50 people in interior spaces, and for open-air events, there will have to be 400 people or fewer, and they will have to be seated,” Sánchez explained.

Cinemas and theaters will also reopen under Phase 2, with a third of their capacity allowed to enter and assigned seating.

Phase 3 will be “the advanced phase,” he continued, “once the required markers have been met,” with cinemas and theaters allowing 50% of their capacity to enter, for example. “General mobility will be relaxed,” he added, and it will still be recommendable to wear masks on public transport.

Under Phase 3, the capacity of stores and other public-facing businesses will be limited to 50%, with an inter-personal distance of two meters. Restrictions will be further relaxed for bars and restaurants.

Each phase will last at least two weeks, he said, which is the incubation period of the coronavirus, and in the best-case scenario, the process will last eight weeks in all of Spain.

“By the end of June, as a country we will be in the new normality if the evolution of the epidemic is under control in all territories,” he said. “This weekend individual physical activity [for adults] will be allowed, as will walks. On May 4, all territories will enter Phase 0, and given the low number of infections and if the progress allows for it, Formentera, the Balearics, Gomera, El Hierro and Graciosa in the Canary Islands will enter Phase 1 shortly after

Mobility within a province will be permitted under Phase 1, which will begin May 11 at the earliest

“On May 11, all of the provinces that meet the requisites will enter Phase 1, and the Health Ministry will evaluate the markers on a two-weekly basis.

“There is no closed and uniform calendar, and we will advance in each place as quickly as the epidemic permits,” he said. “When we conclude the deescalation we can say that each province has reached a situation of new normality until a vaccine arrives.”

Home-working will be preferable until at least reaching Phase 3, he added.

The markers the prime minister referred to will be “the capacity of the country’s health systems, the epidemiological situation in each area, protection measures in the workplace, business and public transport, and mobility and socioeconomic data.” These markers would be public, he added, “and transparent.”

The prime minister made clear that it would be the central Health Ministry, and not Spain’s regional governments, who would be deciding on the speed of deescalation in each province, despite the latter calling for such powers. “If we have to choose between prudence and risk, we opt for prudence,” he stated.

The virus, the prime minister said, “has not gone anywhere. It is still there lurking. With our behavior, we can save lives. We can protect our lives and help to rebuild our country. That is, right now, the best kind of patriotism.”

The four rules of the deescalation, Sánchez explained, were “a gradual, asymmetrical, coordinated and adaptable approach.” “The adaptability is because we don’t know what we are facing. Science still doesn’t know a lot of things about this virus. As such, we are facing something that we don’t know, and that is why we have to be cautious.”

Movement between provinces had to be restricted, Sánchez explained, to avoid the spread of the virus from area to area. “Imagine that one province is in Phase 1 and another in Phase 3,” he said. “Mobility cannot be permitted to go and meet with a relative or friend.” Mobility between provinces would return “when we reach the phase of the new normality,” he added – i.e. when the deescalation is over.

Sánchez also explained that another two-week extension to the state of alarm that was implemented on March 14 would be requested in Congress. The current period is due to expire on May 9.


Spanish PM promises to ease confinement of children

Spanish PM promises to ease confinement of children

Spanish children have been kept at home since 14 March, under strict measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Now Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez aims to relax the rule on 27 April so they can “get some fresh air”.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, who has young children herself, this week pleaded with the government to allow children outside.

Spain has seen more than 20,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic and almost 200,000 reported cases.

In a televised briefing on Saturday evening, Mr Sánchez said Spain had left behind “the most extreme moments and contained the brutal onslaught of the pandemic”.

But he said he would ask parliament to extend Spain’s state of alarm to 9 May as the achievements made were “still insufficient and above all fragile” and could not be jeopardised by “hasty decisions”.

Another 410 deaths were reported on Sunday – fewer than Saturday. The latest toll is well down from the peak of the pandemic, and the government allowed some non-essential workers to resume construction and manufacturing last Monday.

However, the main lockdown measures remain in place, with adults only allowed out to visit food shops and pharmacies or work considered essential. Children have been barred from going outside their homes completely.

In other developments:

  • Some of the biggest names in music, including Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney and Billie Eilish, have joined forces to celebrate healthcare workers in a globally televised concert
  • Donald Trump has chided some Democrat state governors, saying they were getting carried away with imposing too many coronavirus restrictions
  • The world’s Orthodox Christians are celebrating Easter – the most important festival in their calendar – amid a series of restrictions and bans
  • Israel has announced that it will begin a gradual easing of its strict coronavirus lockdown
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that Muslims are exempted from fasting during the holy month of Ramadan – due to start this week – if they feel it would pose a serious threat to their health

Spain’s eight million children have already spent five weeks in confinement and there has been growing unease at the risk to their health.

The Spanish Children’s Rights Coalition has warned of mental and physical health problems for children as a result of such measures and called for boys and girls to be allowed outside to play and do some physical activity.

“These children need to get out,” the Barcelona mayor demanded. “Wait no more: Free our children!”

Other countries such as Denmark have begun opening up schools for under-11s while Norway is set to reopen kindergartens on Monday. Germany will reopen some schools on 4 May although the most populous state will begin opening up from Monday.

Sweden has kept its schools open throughout the crisis. However, none of these countries has been as badly hit by the virus as Spain.

From a week on Monday, the prime minister said, children will be allowed out but he added that he had not yet decided how it would be organised and it would have to be “limited and subject to conditions to avoid contagion”.

“The proposal is that starting from 27 April they have the opportunity to leave their homes and for a while in the day they get to enjoy fresh air,” he said, without specifying for how long that would be.

Mr Sánchez said he would discuss the details of easing the restrictions with regional leaders on Sunday and following the advice of paediatricians. Reports said the relaxation would only apply to under-12s but that has not been confirmed.

He accepted that many children were living in homes of 40-50 sq m (430-540 sq ft) in size and that the youngest would be allowed out in the street.

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