Spain confirmed more than 1,500 new cases of coronavirus between Friday and Saturday raising its total to 5,753 cases, the second-highest number in Europe after Italy.
The country was expected to declare a state of alert on Saturday to try to mobilize resources to combat the virus, which has so far killed 183 people in Spain, up from 121 fatalities on Friday.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez had been due to speak after a cabinet meeting at 1300 GMT to announce the state of alert and new measures expected to limit the movement of people, but his appearance before the media was delayed to later in the afternoon, his office said without setting a specific hour.
On Friday said the government would adopt a series of extraordinary measures in order “to mobilize all the resources of state to better protect the health of all of its citizens.”
The number of cases in Spain has increased tenfold since Sunday, and bars, restaurants and all sporting and cultural institutions have been closed.
The Madrid region, which is the country’s worst-hit with nearly 3,000 cases, has ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses.
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