Spain’s PM urges caution for those beginning the lockdown de-escalation

Madrid, May 9 (efe-epa).- Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez on Saturday urged people living in regions due to start the first stage of loosening the national lockdown to remain prudent.

Some 51 percent of the population will see a slight easing of the tough restrictions in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus but major cities like Madrid and Barcelona, the worst-affected areas, will remain in the preparatory stage of the four-phase plan.

A patchwork of provinces in Castile and Leon, half of the Valencia region, Malaga and Granada in Andalusia, Toledo and two other provinces in Castilla La Mancha and urban areas of Catalonia will continue in what the Socialist Party-led government calls Phase 0 of its transition to a “new normality.”

In other regions like the Basque Country, Galicia, Murcia, La Rioja and Asturias, people will be able to gather in groups of up to 10 from 11 May and outside restaurant areas can reopen at half capacity.

Small businesses and museums can open their doors again with strict hygiene protocol in place.

But Sánchez urged caution for those about to enjoy some freedoms that have been restricted since the state of alarm came into effect on 14 March.

“For those of you entering Phase 1 on Monday, I ask caution and prudence,” he said in a press briefing. “The virus hasn’t disappeared. It’s still there, lurking.”

Spanish health authorities said 179 people had died in the last 24 hours, the second-lowest daily figure on record since the outbreak took hold.

A total of 26,478 have died from coronavirus in Spain, one of the worst-affected countries in the world.

There were 604 new cases reported in the same period bringing the total to 223,578 but some 133,852 people have recovered from the virus, 2,804 in the last 24 hours.

Atletico Madrid’s team got back to training Saturday for the first time since the lockdown came into effect, interrupting La Liga with 11 match days to go before the end of the season

Real Madrid are due to return to their training complex on Monday. All players will have to abide by social-distancing rules. EFE-EPA


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