Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Friday that more needed to be done to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, but he stopped short of announcing new measures and instead called on citizens to act responsibly.
With Spain’s COVID-19 cases soaring this week to total over a million – the highest in Western Europe – the government has said the pandemic was out of control.
But it lacks the majority in parliament to push bold steps and sometimes overrides reluctant regions who decide on health matters.
“If we don’t follow precautions, we are putting the lives of those we love most at risk,” Sanchez said in a televised address to the nation. “What we have to do is reduce mobility and social contact. There is no other solution.”
Earlier on Friday, Castilla and Leon’s region had urged the central government to impose nationwide night-time curfews quickly. Most other areas favor some form of curfew, but the powerful Madrid and Basque country authorities opposed such a move.
It will be up to each region to say what they want to do next, but they do not have the authority to impose curfews without a national level decision.
A record of 20,986 COVID-19 cases was added in Spain on Thursday, bringing the official total to 1,026,281.
But Sanchez said that, since not all cases are detected, the actual tally was likely over 3 million.
The death toll stands at 34,521.