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Spain toughens lockdown to contain coronavirus

MADRID, March 29 (KUNA) -- The Spanish government has ordered stricter lockdown measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
In an extraordinary meeting on Sunday, the Spanish cabinet endorsed the stricter lockdown measures which will see all non-essential workers are ordered to stay at homes, from March 30 to April 9.
The measure was to gain time in the face of the global pandemic and to lighten the burden on the country's health system, Government spokesperson and Minister of Finance Maria Jesus Montero told reporters after the cabinet meeting.
Montero added that it was essential to reduce the mobility of citizens as much as possible from Monday to Friday in order to beat the virus.
The move comes in addition to the confinement of most residents in Spain that was put into action two weeks ago under the state of emergency declared by the cabinet on March 14.
Citizens are permitted to leave their homes to purchase food or medication.
Meanwhile, Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz pointed out the two-week enforced leave are paid and recoverable.
She pointed out that employees will have until December 31 to work the hours that they have missed on a gradual basis. (end) hnd.ibi