Spain is “not yet in de-escalation phase,” health minister warns

Spain’s health minister warned that the country is not in a “de-escalation phase” even as his government prepares measures to slowly end the current movement restrictions in place to tackle the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“Spain continues in a state of lockdown,” Salvador Illa said during a press conference following a meeting of the Spanish cabinet. “We are not yet in a de-escalation phase, Spain is not yet in a de-escalation phase”.

A reduced number of so called “non-essential” workers who have been off for two weeks, from certain sectors, such as construction, will be allowed return to work on Monday. Trains and other public transport will slowly start ramping up their operation, but the health minister called on all those who could, to continue working from home.

Those returning to work on Monday will have to follow strict social distancing rules, Illa said.

“It is very important to maintain a social distance of a minimum of one meter, preferably of two meters, during your commute to work,” he said, adding the same measures need to be guaranteed in work places and any “business that is open to the public.”

 Illa went on to say that Spain has been able to “slow down the pandemic,” reducing the rate of infection and the climb in the number of deaths due to Covid-19.

“The data shows that we are meeting our objectives, but we remain in an important phase of the pandemic,” he said, warning that contagion is still taking place and new cases continue to be diagnosed.

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