The Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, has offered Spain’s territories the option of declaring a regional state of alarm. After a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, he said that the leader of each of Spain’s 17 regions would directly manage the exceptional situation. On March 14, Sánchez declared a state of alarm in all of Spain, having previously denied the possibility of individual territories to do so. “COVID-19 makes no regional differences”, he then repeated.
Now on Tuesday he said any potential regional state of alarm now would inevitably be different, although he added that such an exceptional declaration “would not necessarily mean a new lockdown.” By announcing this possibility, the head of the Spanish government is attempting to respond to accusations of “recentralization” made by regional leaders such as Catalonia’s Quim Torra.
Indeed, Torra would be the person who would have the final say in any measures related to Covid-19 within the state of alarm if his executive decided to apply it. Yet, in a simultaneous press conference of the Catalan government to present their plan for the reopening of schools on September 14, the health minister Alba Vergésruled out the possibility of Catalonia requesting a state of alarm.
Army and app to help identify cases
Furthermore, Sánchez offered regional governments 2,000 soldiers from the Spanish army to help track contacts of those who tested positive for Covid-19.
He also talked about “strengthening the digital tracking means,” calling on all regions to adopt the new Radar Covid app. This tool allows users to know whether they have been close to someone who tested positive for Covid-19 in the 14 days prior, using Bluetooth technology.
The app also allows the user to report that they tested positive anonymously and also anonymously reports that to those who have been in touch with the user.