The UK’s Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to Spain, following the restrictions put in place by the Spanish government in response to the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid-19).
As reported last night, the Spanish government has introduced an official nationwide lockdown for at least 15 days, in order to combat the spread of Coronavirus.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced the measure in an institutional statement after his cabinet concluded an extraordinary meeting lasting nearly 8 hours.
This ‘state of alarm’ imposes significant restrictions on movement throughout Spain. Transport services will be operating at reduced levels. Public gatherings are banned, most shops, many businesses and all schools and universities are closed, and residents have been instructed to remain at home as much as possible.
There are limited, specific exceptions to the requirement to remain at home, in particular in order to buy food or other essential items, to return home to the primary residence, to go to work if unable to work from home and to carry out caring or similar duties. UK nationals currently in Spain should follow the advice of local authorities. Anybody planning to travel to Spain should consult their airline or tour operator.
British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, recorded a video message for UK nationals explaining the implications of the state of emergency for both residents and tourists. He also said, ‘A big thank you to the Spanish authorities, in particular the healthcare professionals for all the great work they are doing to help keep everyone in Spain – of all nationalities – safe, in circumstances that are very challenging indeed.’
Health authorities in Spain said the number of Coronavirus infections climbed past 5,700 on Saturday, half of them in Madrid, representing a national increase of over 1,500 in 24 hours. The country had 136 deaths, up from 120.
Spain now has the fifth-highest number of cases, behind China, Italy, Iran and South Korea.
Europe has now become the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, with countries imposing a cascade of restrictions in an effort to prevent their health systems from collapsing under the caseload.
For more information on Coronavirus, please follow the advice of the Spanish government (https://www.mscbs.gob.es/) and UK government (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus).
Up-to-date WHO advice and facts (in English) about the Coronavirus epidemic can be found here: www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance.
Our previous reports on Coronavirus in Spain: