Covid-19: Q&A about the state of emergency declared by the Spanish government

What is the state of emergency and how long will it last? How was it declared in Spain?

It is a constitutional measure that enables the government to take exceptional steps to deal with serious disruptions to normality, such as a healthcare crisis. The government can harness the necessary executive powers of state to confront the crisis (including the powers of regional or local authorities) and take actions without the need for formal legislation. These measures are set out in the royal decree declaring the state of emergency and successive related decrees.

It lasts for 15 calendar days, but can be extended with authorisation from Spain’s parliament.

In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of emergency and related measures were declared through Spanish Royal Decree 463/2020 of 14 March 2020, taking effect that same date.