Spanish PM sees economy contract in ‘war’ against coronavirus

EU leaders summit in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks at a news conference after the second day of the European Union leaders summit, held to discuss the EU's long-term budget for 2021-2027, in Brussels, Belgium, February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman

The Spanish economy will contract as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told a near-empty parliament on Wednesday, urging all to rally in what he called a “war” against the virus.

To avoid any propagation of the virus in parliament, there were only 28 lawmakers and five ministers to listen to Sanchez, leaving the 350-strong assembly unusually empty.

“It is clear that annual GDP will fall, as the European Commission has already pointed out. 2020 will not have 12 months, but 10 or even 9,” Sanchez told parliament.

Sanchez said the coronavirus crisis, which had led Spain and several other European countries to shut schools and most shops, was also “cruel”, pointing to the fact that those losing loved ones to the disease could not hold normal funerals.

With nearly 500 dead as of Tuesday’s official data, Spain is the second-worst hit country in Europe after Italy.

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