The declaration of the state of emergency comes into force this Saturday, as announced by the Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, in an exceptional appearance, during which he explained that the decision will be approved at an extraordinary meeting of the cabinet. Sánchez revealed that “we are not ruling out that the affected population may reach 10,000 people within the next few days.”
The measure, which is regulated by the Organic Law of 4/1981, dated 1 June, and the Constitution itself, has only been implemented once, following the air traffic control crisis of 2010. It represents the lowest level of national emergency and does not affect the population’s fundamental rights. Nevertheless, the Government can limit the movement of people, intervene in industries and temporarily requisition goods. It also forces all civil authorities, regional and local police forces and other officials to remain under the orders of the competent authority designated by the decree.
According to the decree itself, it may only be applied for a maximum of 15 days, the period announced by Sánchez. Nevertheless, Congress (the Lower House) may decide to prolong the situation. The Prime Minister has announced that the coronavirus is “an emergency that attacks the health of everyone and that does not understand borders.”