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World Spain to let regions decide COVID-19 restrictions from May 9

17:30  04 may  2021
17:30  04 may  2021 Source:   reuters.com

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's government will pass responsibility for coronavirus restrictions on to the country's 17 regions after a state of emergency expires next week, Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said on Tuesday.

Sofas are seen on a street after curfew, in Barcelona © Reuters/NACHO DOCE Sofas are seen on a street after curfew, in Barcelona

The six-month emergency decree, which provides a legal framework for the most restrictive COVID-19 measures, expires on on Sunday.

Regional authorities will then be able to set up curfews and lock down areas but must secure the support of local courts, Calvo said.

"Regions can justify, argue, propose measures to tribunals curfews or lockdowns that limit rights and freedoms, but they need a judicial authorisation," she told a news conference.

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If a local court strikes down measures proposed by a regional government, it could appeal to the Supreme Court, which would then set up precedents applicable to all regions.

Without the state of emergency, Spanish authorities do not have the prerogative to suspend civil liberties like freedom of movement or assembly. Regions with high infection rates, such as the Basque Country, have asked the government to extend it.

It is unclear what the different regions will decide to do now that the responsibility has been bestowed upon them or how local courts will rule.

The central government has, however, decided to extend until Aug. 9 the protection of home owners from foreclosure if they cannot pay their mortgages and against cutting off electricity and water supplies if utilities bills are unpaid.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro and Emma Pinedo; Editing by Nathan Allen and Ed Osmond)

End of the Corona Emergency Office in Spain .
Tough thousands of Spaniards celebrated the expiry of most corona restrictions. But in the joy, anger and confusion also mix, as it has not yet been clearly regulated which measures are still allowed. © Jordi BoixAneu / Zuma / Picture Alliance Party Mood in the streets of Barcelona Most of the sometimes very strict restrictions of public life had expired in Spain in the night of Sunday.

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