COVID-19: Spain extends state of emergency until 11 April

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By Mark Armstrong  with AP
COVID-19: Spain extends state of emergency until 11 April
Copyright  AP

The Spanish government in Madrid announced on Sunday that the country's state of alarm over coronavirus is be extended for another 15 days.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez revealed the measure in a teleconference with regional presidents.

Effectively, it means that people in Spain will be housebound until 11 April.

"It's essential to beat the virus by continuing to anticipate it," Sanchez explained.

"And I know, I am very aware, that this is one of the most drastic measures taken by the surrounding countries. I know that it is very uncomfortable to be confined until April 11, and that it is affecting everyone. But experts agree that it is an effective measure in the fight against the coronavirus."

Spain is dealing with over 28,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19.

To help relieve pressure on health facilities Madrid's biggest exhibition centre is being converted into a 5,000-bed temporary hospital.

In addition, nine hotels in the region are to be converted into clinics to care for less serious cases.

As of Sunday, there have been over 1,700 COVID-19 deaths in Spain. Madrid and the north are the most affected regions.