Spanish Government to Order Lockdown of Country Over Coronavirus Pandemic

March 14, 2020 Updated: March 14, 2020
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Spain’s government will on Saturday order the lockdown of the country, ordering people to stay home with few exceptions, according to a draft decree reported on by local outlets. Spain has one of the highest coronavirus case counts in the world.

People will only be allowed to leave their homes for limited purposes such as buying food or drugs, going to the hospital, going  to work, or attending to emergencies, according to the decree, which was obtained by Cadena SER radio, El Pais, and other outlets.

According to El Pais, the draft states that journeys must be for the following:
1. Acquiring food, medicine, and essential items.
2. Getting health care.
3. Going to work.
4. Returning to home.
5. Assisting seniors, minors, dependents, and the disabled.
6. Going to banks and other financial institutions.
7. Other actions that are necessary under the circumstances.

The measures will go into effect at 8 a.m. on March 16.

The decree gives the head of the Interior Ministry the power to order closing freeways or other roads to help implement the lockdown. Public transportation will remain open but the number of buses, trains, and other means of travel will be cut by at least half.

Businesses were told to allow workers to work from home if possible.

Epoch Times Photo
People wearing masks walk out of a supermarket, amid concerns over Spain’s coronavirus outbreak in central Madrid, Spain, on March 14, 2020. (Javier Barbancho/Reuters)

Spain has seen a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, including a jump of more than 1,500 in the last 24 hours. The country now has 5,753 infected. Spain has the fourth highest number of deaths in the world, with 133, behind only Iran, Italy, and China.

Airlines in the United States and United Kingdom halted all flights to Spain and some other countries in the area. President Donald Trump banned travelers from the Schengen Area of Europe from traveling to America, citing the explosion of coronavirus cases in the area and a lack of decisive restrictions cutting off travelers from China earlier in the pandemic.

The virus started in Wuhan last year.

“The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe,” Trump told Americans in an address from the White House this week.

Jet2, a UK airline, turned a flight back in midair and said it was no longer flying to Spain.

“In response to local measures introduced throughout Spain to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the closure of bars, restaurants, shops, and activities including any water sports, we have taken the decision to cancel all flights to Mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands with immediate effect,” it said in a statement.

The airline previously canceled flights to Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, and other countries.

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