SPAIN declared a second state of emergency today following a spike in coronavirus cases.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced the measure, which could last up to six months, in an effort to curb soaring Covid-19 infections.

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a new state of emergencyCredit: AFP
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A patient undergoes a coronavirus swab test in Ordizia, SpainCredit: EPA

The state of emergency, which took effect from Sunday night, will require all regions except the Canary Islands to impose a nighttime curfew and limit the number of people allowed to meet to six.

It will initially last for two weeks, but Mr Sanchez has called for parliament to approve its extension up to May 9.

The measure will need parliamentary approval to last beyond 15 days.

"We are living in an extreme situation … it is the most serious health crisis in the last century," Mr Sanchez told a news conference following a cabinet meeting.

EXTREME SITUATION

The Spanish PM said travel between regions will be banned under the new state of emergency rules.

Regions will be allowed to impose curfews between 11pm and 6am, with one hour of flexibility either way.

Catalonia was one of the first regions on Sunday to use the new legislation to impose a curfew, which started at 10pm.

Under the restrictions, establishments open to the public will have to close at 9pm.

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People wearing face masks walking down Las Ramblas in Barcelona yesterdayCredit: Rex Features
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Las Ramblas looked deserted tonight after a curfew took effectCredit: EPA

Mr Sanchez called for people to stay home as much as possible in a bid to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

He said: "The more we stay at home and the fewer the contacts we have, the more protected we’ll be, and the more we’ll be able to protect our loved ones and the health of everyone."

Spain was hit hard during the first wave of the pandemic earlier this year and imposed a much more restrictive lockdown.

But like many other European countries, it is now facing a second coronavirus wave.

“The second wave is no longer a threat, it is a reality,” Spain's health minister Salvador Illa said during a press conference from Madrid on Tuesday.

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A patient infected with COVID-19 is treated in one of the intensive care units at the Severo Ochoa hospital in Leganes, outskirts of MadridCredit: AP:Associated Press
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A cleaning worker disinfects the streets of Ourense, in GaliciaCredit: EPA

The first state of emergency in Spain was declared in March and was lifted in June after the infection rate went down.

Madrid also introduced a two-week state of emergency earlier this month which lasted until last Saturday after the Spanish capital became a hotspot for coronavirus infections.

Today, Mr Sanchez announced nationwide restrictions which apply to all regions apart from the Canary Islands in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

The state of emergency makes it easier for authorities to take swift action.

Canary Islands vice president Roman Rodriguez tweeted he was "satisfied" the tourist hotspot had been excluded from the curfews but encouraged people not to let their guard down.

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Spain became the first western European country to record more than one million Covid infections last week.

According to the latest data, Spain has recorded 1,110,372 Covid-19 cases.

The coronavirus death toll in the country currently stands at 34,752.

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Coronavirus cases in Spain have been rising in recent weeks
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A worker closes an ice cream shop at Las Ramblas after a state of emergency was declaredCredit: Reuters

Canary Islands, Mykonos, Denmark and Maldives come OFF quarantine list giving holiday boost for Brits

SPAIN declared a second state of emergency today following a spike in coronavirus cases.