Return to "full normality" comes after vaccine for COVID-19: Spanish PM
Spanish parliament mulls two-week extension on emergency as the number of infected reach 152,446 with 15,238 deaths
MADRID: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday that only after the discovery of a vaccine for COVID-19 will his country return to "full normality."
Sanchez made his remarks in the lower house of the Spanish parliament during a debate on the extension of a state of emergency by another two weeks until April 26.
"The fire that the pandemic lit" has started to come under control, said the prime minister, adding that there is still a way to go before Spain comes out of the "tunnel."
Having no idea on what kind of normality Spain will return to, he said that the time to remove social restrictions and social distancing measures depends on how the virus is controlled.
"Every weekly advance will make it possible to open new spaces and lift restrictions on this new normality," said Sanchez, warning that "full normality will only return when the world has an efficient vaccine" against the coronavirus.
Sanchez admitted errors in the early strategy to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
"The Western world acted late and Spain is no exception," he said, stressing that Spain was "the first Western country to take measures" and has imposed the strictest lockdown in the region.
The prime minister also called for political unity to contribute to the social and economic reconstruction of Spain.
"If unemployment is going to affect us all, what sense is there in being divided?" said Sanchez.
Spain's Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda Jose Luis Alabos said on Thursday that a series of medically equipped trains, capable of carrying up to 24 COVID-19 patients, is available to run among Spain's autonomous communities.
As of Wednesday night, the number of deaths from the virus has risen by 683 to 15,238, the Spanish Ministry for Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Services said. The daily count of deaths slightly dropped from 757 the previous day.
The total number of confirmed cases increased by 5,756 to 152,446, registering a 3.9-percent hike, down from the 4.4-percent rise 24 hours earlier.