Fighting COVID 19 – Legal Powers and Risks: Spain

A global health crisis, broadcasted almost instantly, arguably ensures that most citizens accept health recommendations responsibly, and no coercive measures are needed for them to take precautions. In fact, the first decisions made by the Spanish health authorities with respect to COVID-19 were passed through documents with no regulatory value. However, the rapid spread of the epidemic forced these authorities to increasingly restrict various fundamental rights and freedoms. Three major legal issues arose then: firstly, whether the ordinary provisions of the health legislation were sufficient to deal with this crisis or emergency powers should be triggered; secondly, whether the central government should have powers devolved to better manage the crisis; and, thirdly, under which conditions and to what extent the government may restrict constitutional rights by virtue of these emergency powers.

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