Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called on the populace to continue to take care on Saturday, the last day of the state of alert imposed to contain the coronavirus. “The virus can return, and we could face a second wave of infections,” Sanchez said in a televised speech. “We all need to follow health and hygiene regulations closely.” Spain, one of the countries worst affected by the pandemic, introduced a strict lockdown in mid-March to contain the virus, which has led to 28,000 deaths. From midnight the lockdown is to be lifted. The lockdown was highly unpopular, but Sanchez said it had prevented the death toll from rising to 450,000. He thanked people for their efforts during this period, particularly by health care staff, police and key workers. He also paid tribute to women, who make up the majority of health and retail workers, who stayed at home to take care of children and in some cases, faced domestic abuse. Although politicians are divided, Sanchez called on the country to unite to rebuild the economy, and not to simply restore it but work towards greater sustainability and digitalisation in the future. He also defended the European Union's plans for a recovery package to address the crisis unleashed by the pandemic, saying past lessons had been learned and that the “new Europe” was acting out of solidarity.