Spain to extend COVID-19 aid to most vulnerable until Oct 31

Spain has announced that existing measures to protect the most vulnerable from the pandemic’s economic fallout will be prolonged until the end of October

MADRID -- Spain's prime minister on Thursday announced that existing measures to protect the most vulnerable from the pandemic’s economic fallout will be prolonged until the end of October.

As a national lockdown extended in March last year, the government also rolled out a series of social measures, including a ban on leaving impoverished families without utilities and a moratorium on forced evictions for those who saw their income vanish.

During a televised briefing on Thursday to summarize progress during the first 1½ years of his left-wing coalition, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that the so-called social shield will be extended beyond the current Aug. 9 expiration date to Oct. 31.

The change will be approved by the Cabinet next week, Sánchez said.

“Our priority is to fight inequality and social exclusion," the prime minister said, adding that the emptying rural areas where population rates are diminishing are a top priority for his administration: "Our goal is that nobody, neither territories nor people, is left behind.”

New cases have spread mostly among people under 30, which are largely yet to receive their jabs, although the speed of contagion has plateaued in recent days. Vaccinated people can also become infected with the coronavirus in what are called “breakthrough” cases.

The country has reported 4.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 81,000 pandemic-related deaths.

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