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Spain was hit hard during the first wave of the pandemic earlier this year

Spain declares state of emergency to restrain infections

Spain imposes national night-time curfew to curb infections in an effort to help control a new spike in Covid-19 cases.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced the curfew, between the hours of 23:00 and 06:00, would come into force on Sunday.

Under the emergency measures, local authorities can also ban travel between regions in the country, he said.

Mr Sánchez said he would urge parliament to approve an extension of the new rules from 15 days to six months.

Spain was hit hard during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year and imposed a much more suppressive lockdown to contain infections – one of the toughest in the world.

Like many other European countries, however, it has been hit by a second wave of covid-19 infections.
“The situation we are going through is extreme,” Mr Sánchez said in a televised address on Sunday, adding: “It is the most serious in the last half century.”

Movement between districts will be determined by regional leaders and is likely to be dependent on work and medical needs.

Mr Sánchez said different regions would have up to an hour of flexibility if they wanted to modify the duration of the overnight curfew.

There is also a limit on public and private gatherings of different households to a maximum of 6 people.

The new emergency state measures, which more than half of Spain’s 17 regions had been calling for, apply to all regions except for the Canary Islands.

The same level of emergency was introduced during the first wave of the pandemic in April 2020 where the country has gone through one of the worst scenarios of the pandemic in the European continent.

Spain has passed one million cases since the start of the pandemic and nearly 35,000 people have died.

Meanwhile, Italy is shutting cinemas, swimming pools and gyms from Monday in a further attempt to curb the rapid rise in covid-19 spread in the country. Bars and restaurants will have to close its doors by 18:00, but shops  will remain operating.

Italy’s measures were agreed between Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and regional leaders.

“We think that we will suffer a bit this month but by committing to these restrictions, we’ll be able to breathe again in December,” Mr Conte told a news conference on Sunday.

The prime minister has said he does not want to repeat the national lockdown imposed during the first wave in March and April because of the economic damage which the country is still struggling with its consequences.

Under the new measures, the bulk of secondary school teaching will be conducted online instead of in the classroom.

The Italian move comes amid demonstrations in Naples, and then Rome, against stricter coronavirus measures.

Saturday saw a new daily record of cases in Italy of more than 19,600. The number of deaths was 151.

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