Spain PM says coronavirus 'has not disappeared'

Madrid, May 9 (AP) Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says loosening the nearly two-month lockdown will be for naught if people don't obey social distancing rules.

He reminded Spaniards on Saturday, two days before 51% of the nation of 47 million will be allowed to sit at outdoor cafes, "the virus has not disappeared." On Monday, many regions not as hard hit by the virus will permit gatherings of up to 10 people and reopen churches, theaters, outdoor markets and other establishments with limits on occupancy.

Madrid and Barcelona will stay under stricter confinement. Two-meter social distancing rules remain in effect.

"The struggle goes on and will last until we find a vaccine," Sanchez said. "Meanwhile, we have to live with the virus, that is why we must reinforce our health care system and strengthen its capabilities." Sánchez and Spain's army have warned of possible surges in the coming months.Advertisement

Spain's health ministry reported 179 new confirmed deaths on Saturday, increasing the death toll to 26,478. A month ago, Spain was averaging 900 daily deaths. (AP) PMSPMS
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