Spain lifts State of Alarm, prepares for 'new normality'

World Sunday 21/June/2020 15:09 PM
By: Times News Service
Spain lifts State of Alarm, prepares for 'new normality'

MADRID: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told the country in a televised speech on Saturday on the eve of lifting its State of Alarm that "Now it's time for recovery."

Spain will enter on Sunday what Sanchez calls the "new normality", with visitor arrivals from the European Union countries and Schengen regions no longer required to undergo two-week quarantine, while travel between Spain's 17 Autonomous Communities is resumed.

"We will leave behind the State of Alarm and enter the new normality," said Sanchez, who admitted that on March 14 when the State of Alarm was declared, "nobody knew that we were at the start of the biggest health crisis in the last 100 years. More than 28,000 fellow countrymen have lost their lives in our country."

He insisted that despite the huge losses, the lockdown had saved lives.

"No one could have predicted when and how the nightmare would end... We had to put our lives on hold to contain the virus. We had to offer protection to families, above all those in the most disadvantaged situations. We were badly affected, but we resisted. We flattened the curve and we did it together," said Sanchez.

The prime minister then looked to the future when restrictions such as the mandatory wearing of face-masks and social distancing will stay.

"Now is the time for recovery, which must happen as quickly as possible. We need sectors to recover as soon as they can, but they also need to be renewed," continued Sanchez, who sees the recovery as an opportunity for a more inclusive and sustainable economy on a national and European level.

"A new period is starting now... Our economy is starting to beat. We are in a situation where we can move forward," he noted while cautioning against possible spikes of infection.

"We have an individual and collective responsibility," he said, warning that "the virus could return and plunge us once more into a second wave, and we have to avoid that at all costs."

Sanchez thanked those who have been on the front line against coronavirus-- "health professionals, the state security forces, the workers who never stopped, agricultural workers, truck drivers... Thanks to all citizens for the sacrifice and the morale of victory. Thanks to all of you for staying at home. It is an honor to be the prime minister of this great country."

The Spanish Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed seven new deaths, bringing the country's death toll to 28,322.

Meanwhile, 134 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed, taking the tally to 245,938.