Good afternoon, dear compatriots.
I have just notified the Head of State that we will hold an extraordinary Council of Ministers tomorrow to decree a state of emergency in the whole country, throughout Spain, for the next 15 days.
The state of emergency is an instrument under our rule of law, contained in our Constitution, to tackle such extraordinary crises as the one the world is unfortunately suffering from at this time, which of course includes our country.
The health and social emergency caused by coronavirus, known as COVID-19, creates extraordinary circumstances which the law envisages and accordingly provides the Government of Spain with extraordinary legal resources to respond with.
At the meeting scheduled for tomorrow, the extraordinary Council of Ministers will adopt a raft of exceptional decisions within the framework of the declaration of the state of emergency that will be decreed tomorrow. These decisions are geared towards mobilising all the resources of the State as a whole to better protect the health of all citizens. These include financial resources, health resources – which are public, private, civilian and military – to protect all our citizens, particularly those that are most vulnerable to the virus due to their age or other already existing conditions, and also to respond to the social and economic emergency as quickly and forcefully as possible.
We want the maximum coordination of resources, which are efficient and guaranteed by all the public authorities, and for them to function well as well as possible. The Government of Spain will protect all citizens and guarantee the appropriate living conditions to halt the pandemic with the minimum possible consequences.
Naturally, I am available to immediately inform the Lower House of Parliament. I have already informed the Speaker of the Lower House. I have also conveyed this decision to the main political forces. I will also convey this to the regional presidents by phone later this afternoon. I would like to express my acknowledgement to all of them in advance for the work they have each been doing in their respective institutions and with their respective responsibilities. I also wish to express my gratitude for their understanding of these decisions that are aimed at combating an emergency that threatens the health and welfare of everyone, respecting no border, be it internal or external.
We are still only in the first phase of the fight against this virus that affects all the countries in the world, particularly on our continent, Europe. We expect, as I said at the start of the week, some very tough weeks ahead of us. We said that there would be some hard days ahead and that we would take decisions in light of these difficulties and unfortunately we are unable to rule out hitting the figure of more than 10,000 people infected by the end of next week.
All the efforts being made by the health authorities, at both an international, and a national and regional level, are aimed at avoiding the spread of the virus too quickly in order to help patients who, due to their age or previous conditions, are more vulnerable and require the necessary hospital treatment.
We all have a job to do and a mission in the coming days and weeks, and this is no mean task.
The front line is held by our healthcare professionals, providing our shield from the virus. With their commitment and sacrifice, they protect us and deserve all our recognition and gratitude.
The mission of the national and regional health authorities is also clear – to provide the professionals with the resources to carry out their work and maintain and reinforce the extraordinary coordination they have implemented over these last few weeks.
I also wish to pass on a very special message to our elderly folk and to those people with chronic diseases, which logically weaken their defences – they must protect themselves from this infection to the utmost degree, avoiding contact and exposure in public spaces at all costs.
I would also like to address our young people, who also have a decisive mission to fulfil. It is true that due to their vitality they may feel protected from the worst effects of the virus but they can transmit it to other far more vulnerable people around them. Their collaboration, the collaboration of our young people, is decisive in halting the contagion, which is why they must limit their social contact and keep their distance.
And to everyone, dear compatriots, we all have a personal duty, which is to strictly follow the indications of the experts and work together to overcome this virus with the maximum responsibility, coupled with absolute social discipline.
As I have been saying all week, the government of Spain will do whatever it needs to, whenever and wherever it needs to.
The declaration of the state of emergency allows us to mobilise the material resources to combat this virus to the maximum. But if you will allow me, there is another fundamental resource which goes beyond any law or decree, to which end I would like to appeal directly to my compatriots. Victory depends on us all, in our homes, with our families, at work and in our neighbourhoods.
Heroism also consists of washing our hands, staying at home and protecting ourselves, which means protecting the rest of our compatriots. This will take weeks, weeks which will be tough and difficult, but we will stop this virus. Of that you can be certain. With unity, with responsibility and with social discipline.
We will overcome this emergency by heeding the counsel of science and the support of all the State’s resources. But it is also certain that we will achieve this quicker and with as little human, economic and social harm as possible if we do this on a united front and all meet our respective duties. We will stop this virus together.
Thank you very much and good afternoon.