Spain’s government refuses to extend state of alarm even if it can’t limit mobility or gatherings

Spain's government refuses to extend state of alarm even if it can't limit mobility or gatherings
Spanish government spokesperson María Jesús Montero. Photo: Gabriel Buoys/AFP
Despite pressure from political opponents and some regional authorities, Spain’s national government insists it won’t extend the state of alarm past May 9th, even if that means that many of the restrictions in place currently are lifted. 

Spanish government spokesperson María Jesús Montero on Tuesday reiterated that La Moncloa does not intend to lengthen the country’s state of alarm past the planned end date of May 9th 2021. 

“In the last few days we’ve expressed this with absolute clarity, the objective of the Spanish government is that after May 9th the extension of the state of alarm won’t be necessary,” she stated, adding that fundamental rights such as mobility or the right to gather can only be limited when el estado de alarma (the state of alarm) is active.

Spain’s infection rate has risen by 100 points in just under a month, with six regions now classified as having “extreme” infection risk with a fortnightly incidence above 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. 

However, Spain’s government spokesperson said the epidemiological situation was still stable enough for the state of alarm to be lifted.

READ ALSO: Why pressure is growing on Spain’s government to extend state of alarm

Montero echoed Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s recent words on the matter, who has been saying since April 6th that the state of alarm should end on the planned date as “the circumstances are different” epidemiologically speaking and in terms of vaccinations, when compared to when the second state of alarm was reinstated on October 25th.

“The alternative to a state of alarm is a vaccination programme, which is intensifying,” Sánchez said in the Spanish Parliament on April 16th. 

Activated in October, the state of alarm allows the central and regional governments to adopt measures that curb individual freedoms, such as imposing curfews and closing regional borders to anyone moving without just cause. 

But many regional governments – which are responsible for healthcare – fear that lifting it will throw them into a legal limbo that will hurt efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 and are pushing for an extension.

Without the state of alarm, Spain’s 17 autonomies will find it a lot harder to keep restrictions in place as they’ll need to get judicial permission to implement any extension of the restrictions, or new ones.

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Asked if she thought regional authorities would attempt to keep the current state of alarm-authorised  restrictions, Montero said “I would have to be daring to speak on that already”, but concluded that “it isn’t convenient to decentralise”.  


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