The Council of Ministers has approved a Royal Decree-law with exceptional measures that will allow mobilizing up to 18,225 million euros this year to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, has stressed that the Government's effort is focused on two fronts: health and economic, and, especially, in the sectors most affected by the consequences of the disease and in the most vulnerable groups.
Pedro Sánchez has recognized that Spain is enduring an unprecedented health emergency and has exposed a series of measures agreed today, in the health, family, business and administrative fields, in addition to those already adopted by the Council of Ministers last Tuesday and other additional initiatives that the different ministries are developing.
Measures contemplated in the Royal Decree-law
In order to strengthen the health system, protect medical and hospital activity, the President has announced that € 2.8 billion will be transferred to the autonomous communities to expand their availability of resources. In addition, 1,000 million euros will be mobilized from the budget execution Contingency Fund to attend priority interventions. Likewise, the Executive may set the maximum sale price to the public of the medicines and sanitary material necessary for protection against the virus in order to prevent price increases.
Family support measures reinforce care for minors and the most vulnerable groups. To this end, an extraordinary endowment of 25 million euros is approved to reinforce the social services of the autonomous communities. Families who have been awarded dining room scholarships will be able to make them effective even if the schools are closed.
To support business activity, Pedro Sánchez has advanced that affected SMEs will be granted deferrals and installments of their tax debts with the administration for a period of six months without interest. This will allow injecting some 14,000 million euros of liquidity into the economic system. A specific financing line will also be provided with 400 million through the Official Credit Institute aimed at meeting the liquidity needs of companies and self-employed workers in the tourism sector.
The General State Administration may contract on an emergency basis any type of goods or services that it needs to face COVID-19 and make its budgetary items more flexible.
The president explained that the impact of the decisions that are being taken to deal with the coronavirus will require new General State Budgets, "extrasocial" that will alleviate "the ravages of this health and economic emergency." In this sense, it has asked the parliamentary majority to allow the bill to be processed and approved.
In coordination with the Autonomous Communities, and to mitigate the effects of the closure of the educational centers, the minimum limit of the school days will be adjusted, the access and enrollment calendars will be adapted for university and professional training, and the means will be provided to facilitate distance education.
Public employees of the General State Administration may avail themselves of non-contact work modalities and the working hours of those who have minor children in their care will be made more flexible. Those who are in a situation of isolation will receive one hundred percent of their remuneration during the time they remain in that situation.
For its part, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism has prepared a good health practices guide for tourism sector establishments and its workers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will reinforce the Consular Emergency unit to attend to Spaniards affected abroad, and the Ministries of Consumption and Industry, Commerce and Tourism will coordinate to guarantee the supply of basic products and will urge the National Market Commission and the Competition to monitor possible abuses in their prices.
Responsibility and discipline, scientific criteria and institutional collaboration
The Prime Minister has stated that "if we want to beat the virus as soon as possible, responsibility and social discipline are essential." Sánchez stressed that assuming changes in hygiene, meeting, work, leisure and transportation habits and following official recommendations are the only way for the victory of the country as a whole against the virus: "We will overcome this emergency, but what we must achieve is to overcome it as soon as possible, and with the least possible human damage.
"Every citizen must take extreme care of their own health to take care of the health of others, especially of the most vulnerable groups; each person has the duty to protect himself or herself in order to protect others," stressed the president, who has transmitted to the public its appreciation for the civic spirit with which it is assuming all these exceptional measures.
The president has also praised the work of national and international public health experts for the "extraordinarily difficult and pressured" work they have been doing for several weeks, and that of healthcare professionals, "the most valuable shield that we have disease. "
Sánchez thanked the regional governments, the municipalities and all public bodies that are responding "in the full spirit of cooperation and coordination" regardless of their political color. The president has considered that the response model based on the unity of objectives and actions is appropriate and has shown his willingness to study any measure that "the opposition or any Administration" proposes and can reveal to be beneficial for the population as a whole .
During his speech, Pedro Sánchez has also referred to social distancing measures and recommendations that the health authorities They have been launching for weeks. Among them, he recalled the need to cancel educational activities, telework when possible, avoid trips that are not essential, go to health centers if they have symptoms and ensure that older people remain at home or residence.
In the field of leisure, the Chief Executive recalled that all national or international sporting events, professional and non-professional, should be held behind closed doors. Events involving less than a thousand attendees should reduce their capacity to a third and those that provide for more people to attend will be canceled.