The State decree of emergency that is being discussed by the Council of Ministers will put all State authorities under command of the Government. The movement will only be permitted on public roads in order to buy food, to visit the hospital or for travelling to work.

With regards to public movement, the Government is preparing itself to approve an order which will only allow people to leave their homes under these circumstances:

  1. Acquisition of food, medicine and basic necessities.
  2. Assistance at health centres.
  3. Travel to a place of work in order to carry out work responsibilities, as a professional or business person.
  4. Return to a place of habitual residence.
  5. In order to assist and care for the elderly, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or people who are especially vulnerable.
  6. Travel to banks and financial institutions.
  7. Due to unavoidable circumstances or needs.
  8. Any other single activity that has been duly approved.

Under these conditions, citizens will retain some freedom of movement despite the restrictions. What is expressly prohibited is any journey or outing for purposes of leisure

Likewise, private transport vehicles will be allowed to circulate along public roads in order to carry out the aforementioned activities or to refuel at service stations. Despite the restrictions, all recommendations and guidelines given by the health authorities must still be respected.

Furthermore, the state of emergency puts all security forces, including the Mossos d’Esquadra (The Catalan Police Force), the Ertzaintza (The Basque Police Force) and the local police under the authority of the Interior Ministry. According to the decree approved this morning: “The members of State Security Forces and Bodies, Police Bodies of the autonomous communities, and local security corporations will be under the direct order of the head of the Interior Minister, this is necessary for the protection of people, property and places, and in order to provide emergency services according to the nature and duration of the crisis,”

Officers are authorized to carry out searches, as well as other “checks on people, goods, vehicles, premises or establishments that are deemed necessary.” The text adds: “With these objectives, citizens have a duty to collaborate with, and not to obstruct, the work of law enforcement officers in the execution of their duties”.

As an additional resource, “for effective compliance of the security measures taken, the relevant authorities will be able to call on the action of the Armed Forces.”

They will also authorize “temporary requests for any type of necessary goods”, the closure of schools throughout Spain has been confirmed and the opening of all kinds of leisure, cultural and sports establishments has been prohibited.

As things stand, taking part in activities such as religious worship will still be allowed, with the proviso of avoiding crowds and maintaining a one-meter distance between people.

The health system WILL BE centralized

The state of the emergency decree also puts into place a centralization of the national health system “under the direct command of the Minister of Health”. As in the case of Police officers, they will be able to impose “emergency measures” on workers as has already been occurring. The management will continue to correspond to the relevant autonomous communities, however, it will be the responsibility of the Minister of Health “to guarantee cohesion and fairness in the provision” of health services. This will be important in order to guarantee the required transfer of supplies and human resources from one territory to another.

In the Justice Department, set periods of time allotted for in procedural law are postponed or interrupted. In cases that remain in the investigation phase, judges will still have the power to mandate actions that cannot be postponed.

In the Administrative Department, the deadlines for procedures across the entire public sector have been suspended.

All of the protective measures will come into effect today, as soon as the decree is published in the Official State Gazette. This is excluding the provisions for people’s movement, which will be active as of Monday, 16th March at 8:00 am. The initial duration for this state of emergency will be 15 days, which can be extended with the authorization of Congress, where the main parties have already guaranteed their support.

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