25/10/2020 17:43 GMT

Spain Declares New State Of Emergency Amid Soaring Coronavirus Infections

There will be a nighttime curfew between 11pm and 6am as the country tries to get spiralling Covid-19 cases under control.

Residents wearing face masks as they walk along an empty Javier street, in Pamplona, northern Spain (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

Spain has declared a new national state of emergency in a bid to curb soaring coronavirus infections. 

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez said the nation was “living in an extreme situation”, calling the Covid-19 pandemic “the most serious health crisis in the last century”. 

Speaking on Sunday, the PM announced a swathe of new measures for the country – including a nighttime curfew between 11pm and 6am. The curfew will apply everywhere but the Canary Islands. 

Meanwhile, the number of people allowed to meet will be limited to six and there will be a ban on travel between certain regions, Reuters reported. 

Sanchez has the power to impose the new restrictions for 15 days. After that, he will need parliamentary approval to extend the state of emergency. 

The prime minister said he would ask parliament to extend the rules until May 9.  

POOL New / Reuters
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (Manu Fernandez/Pool via REUTERS)

Spain imposed one of the toughest lockdowns early on in the pandemic and then relaxed curbs over the summer.

But like many other European countries it has seen a second wave hit in recent weeks, and now has one of the highest numbers of infections in western Europe.

According to the John Hopkins Covid-19 dashboard, Spain has recorded 1,046,132 cases of coronavirus, as well as almost 35,000 deaths. 

A growing number of regions had been calling on the government to implement the measure, according to Reuters. 

The news comes on the same day that Italy ordered bars and restaurants to close by 6pm and shut public gyms, cinemas and swimming pools in a bid to get Covid-19 infections under control. 

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told a news conference on Sunday: “We think we will suffer a bit this month but by gritting our teeth with these restrictions, we’ll be able to breathe again in December.” 

In the UK, there has been a significant surge in Covid-19 cases – and deaths – in recent weeks. 

On Sunday, the UK recorded 19,790 new coronavirus infections and 151 deaths.