Spain counts 1,500 new coronavirus cases in one day
Pedestrians walk past closed shops in central Madrid on March 14, 2020 after regional authorities ordered all shops in the region be shuttered from today through March 26, save for those selling food, chemists and petrol stations, in order to slow the coronavirus spread. AFP
Spain confirmed more than 1,500 new cases of coronavirus between Friday and Saturday raising its total to 5,753 cases, the second-highest number in Europe after Italy.
The country was expected to declare a state of alert on Saturday to try to mobilise resources to combat the virus, which has so far killed 136 people in Spain.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was due to speak at a cabinet meeting at 1300 GMT to announce the state of alert and new measures expected to limit the movement of people.
On Friday said the government would adopt a series of extraordinary measures in order "to mobilise all the resources of state to better protect the health of all of its citizens".
The number of cases in Spain has increased tenfold since Sunday, and bars, restaurants and all sporting and cultural institutions have been closed.
The Madrid region, which is the country's worst-hit with nearly 3,000 cases, has ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses.