Coronavirus latest updates: WHO questions UK response, Apple closes all non-China stores | World news

Sam Jones, our correspondent in Madrid, has the latest on the situation in Spain:

The Spanish government is meeting this morning to decide what urgent measures to take under the state of emergency that was announced yesterday and will be declared later today.

The emergency powers, set out in article 116 of the constitution, allow the government to limit the movement of people and vehicles in specified places, to temporarily requisition goods, to take over factories and businesses, to ration the consumption of basic items, and to issue the necessary orders to ensure the provision of services.

The article has not been used since 2010, when it was enacted in response to an air traffic controllers’ strike. The state of emergency will initially apply for two weeks, but can be extended with parliamentary approval.

The prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, is due to speak at 2pm local time once the cabinet meeting is over.

Meanwhile, all non-essential shops in the Madrid and Galicia regions have shut on the orders of the regional governments. All non-food shops, cafés, bars, restaurants, cinemas, gyms and non-food shops have been ordered shut for a fortnight in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

The only businesses permitted to remain open are supermarkets, bakeries, butcher’s shops, fishmongers, greengrocers, petrol stations, pharmacies, tobacconists and newspaper kiosks.

On Friday night, the Catalan president, Quim Torra announced plans to close off the north-eastern Spanish region and called on the central government to assist by authorising the closure of ports, airports and railways.

“The evolution of the contagion calls for most drastic action,” Torra said on Friday night. “We need to restrict entry and exit to protect ourselves.”

While Catalonia is one of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions, major transport routes and hubs come under the mandate of the central government.

Spain, the European country most affected by the virus after Italy, has reported more than 5,200 cases and 132 deaths.

Source link