Spain is hours away from entering a new state of emergency as after a massive rise in coronavirus cases.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is due to make the announcement tomorrow morning after calling an urgent meeting with ministers.
It comes as cases there hit 1,046,132 and deaths reached a total of 34,752 since the start of the outbreak.
The country is unlikely to be plunged into a total lockdown as happened in March but it will give individual regions the legal powers to impose new night-time curfews, mostly from midnight to 6am
Eight regions have already signalled their intention to do so – Asturias, the Basque Country, La Rioja, Catalonia, Navarre, Cantabria, Extremadura and Castilla-La Mancha, as well as the North African city of Melilla.
The regions requesting the curfews say the intention is not to confine people to their homes but to limit mobility.
Health Minister Salvador Illa has voiced his support for night-time curfews and had already indicated that the declaration of a state of emergency would be necessary so police could legally enforce it.
The Spanish Constitution includes the state of alarm or emergency as a tool that can be used “in health crisis such as pandemics” and allows governments to limit the movement of people at certain times and places.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister admitted the coronavirus situation in Spain was “serious” and that movements had to be slowed down to slow contagions.
“The situation is not comparable to the month of March and we have to do all we can to prevent a repeat of that lockdown,” he said.
“We have to reduce movement and interpersonal contact, that way we will reduce the possibility of contagion.”
“We need maximum collaboration from the general public. The coming winter months will be tough.
“We must limit gatherings, now is the time to establish distances. We must make sure that with this second wave we can stop the transmission of the virus without halting life.”
The government has set a target to bring the spread of coronavirus down to 25 cases per 100,000 residents.
It may also introduce a four-tier system which would be applied in degrees in the different regions depending on their figures. The tiers would be low risk, medium risk, high risk or extreme risk.