Health authorities in Spain said that coronavirus infections have reached 5,753 people, half of them in the capital, Madrid. That represents a national increase of over 1,500 in 24 hours.
Spanish media reported that the country’s government will announce that it is placing tight restrictions on movement for the nation of 46 million people while declaring a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.
The draft decree, seen by the Reuters news agency, says the lockdown will enter into force on Monday at 8 am (07:00 GMT).
The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, said Europe has now become the “epicenter” of the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The virus has also spread to several countries on the African continent, with Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Guinea, Mauritania and Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) all confirming their first cases on Friday and Saturday.