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State of Emergency Declared in Spain, Wide-Ranging Lockdowns Imposed

© REUTERS / JAVIER BARBANCHOPeople wearing protective masks walk out of a supermarket, amidst concerns over Spain's coronavirus outbreak in central Madrid
People wearing protective masks walk out of a supermarket, amidst concerns over Spain's coronavirus outbreak in central Madrid - Sputnik International
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The number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) disease cases in Spain has surged by more than 1,500 in 24 hours, exceeding 6,250, according to health officials. The death toll from the Chinese infection has risen to 193, with 133 victims in the capital city of Madrid alone.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in a televised address on Saturday declared a state of emergency in the country amid the Wuhan coronavirus, stressing that the ongoing pandemic requires "extraordinary decisions".

​"During a state of emergency, people will be able to move around the streets only to buy food, pharmaceuticals and basic necessities", Sanchez said.

The newly-imposed measure envisages a partial 15-day nationwide lockdown, including a closure of all stores across Spain except pharmacies and those selling food and other basic necessities. All public events will be also banned across the nation.

The state of emergency also envisages a partial suspension of all domestic railway and maritime traffic, according to Sanchez. Spanish residents are urged to work from home.

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Earlier, Spain shut down all schools and allocated the first package of multimillion-euro economic aid to tackle the spread of COVID-19.

Spain remains a hotbed for the pandemic, among other European nations, including Italy and Germany. Earlier this week, nations arounde the world began to partially or completely suspend air traffic with Spain and other EU countries that have been hit by the contagious disease.

Madrid is Ground Zero for the Spanish outbreak. Madrid authorities have shut down schools, universities, museums, theaters and libraries.

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