Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister of Spain, declared a state of emergency and imposed a nationwide curfew on Sunday, as Italy closed down event halls and Bulgaria’s leader tested positive for coronavirus.

Under Spain’s state of emergency, which was due to come into force on Sunday, citizens must remain inside their homes between 11pm and 6am unless they have a valid reason, such as work or other essential activities.

Regional governments have been allowed to adjust the timing of the start and end of the curfew by one hour, while the Canary Islands have been exempted from the curfew altogether.

After Spain recorded 110,000 new cases last week, passing a milestone of one million cases, Mr Sánchez said the situation was “extreme”, and urged citizens to “stay at home wherever possible”.  

The state of emergency also includes a “rule-of-six” limit on social gatherings, and allows regional governments to seal their borders against non-essential entry or exit, as well as place districts or cities under perimeter lockdowns.

Mr Sánchez said he wants parliament to approve the state of emergency for six months, until 9 May.

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