Spain to pay 462 euros monthly to poorest

Spanish authorities have begun to gradually ease stringent confinement measures.
Spanish authorities have begun to gradually ease stringent confinement measures.

The Spanish government has approved the creation of a minimum income of 462 euros ($A771) a month for the poorest, in a scheme which targets 2.5 million people.

Under the decree approved at a cabinet meeting, the government will pay the monthly amount and top up existing revenue for people earning less so they get at least that minimum amount every month, Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told a media conference.

The minimum income would increase with the number of family members to a total of up to 1015 euros ($A1694) per month. The new program aims to reach 850,000 households or 2.5 million people and would cost the government about 3 billion euros ($A5 billion) a year.

Meanwhile, two people who had travelled from the United States to the Spanish region of Valencia have tested positive for coronavirus, potentially becoming Spain's first imported cases since the travel restrictions imposed in mid-March.

With more than 27,000 deaths and almost 238,000 confirmed cases of the virus, Spain is among Europe's worst-hit nations.

Imported cases practically vanished after Spain closed its borders and locked down its population on March 14, but authorities will be closely monitoring for any resurgence when the tourism-dependent country reopens in July.

Situated on Spain's Mediterranean coast, Valencia is home to tourist resorts such as Benidorm and Alicante. It will move to phase two of a four-stage easing process on Monday, with gatherings of up to 15 people allowed and some restrictions on movement lifted.

Regional Health Councillor Ana Barcelo said the travellers had likely not complied with a mandatory two-week quarantine after arriving in Spain.

"They have not travelled directly to Valencia, but stopped at midpoint airports and we don't know exactly the route they took, or if they finally travelled to Valencia by car or by plane", she said on Thursday at a media conference.

Valencian authorities did not disclose any more details, such as the travellers' nationality, when contacted by Reuters.

Australian Associated Press