The new figures show Spain now has 4,209 confirmed cases and a revised death toll of 120. Spanish television news said a so-called “state of alert” would be the first of three stages of the state of emergency. It lasts 15 days and empowers the government to take wide-ranging measures including confining people or ordering mass evacuations.
British holiday hotspots are being placed in lockdown in a desperate bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus with nightclubs, pubs and discos in Ibiza and Majorca ordered to close, along with gyms and sports facilities and casinos.
Similar drastic measures are being taken in Barcelona and Madrid, casting doubt on Britons’ spring and summer getaways.
Spanish media has also reported all restaurants, bars and shops in Madrid will be forced to close from tomorrow with only supermarkets and pharmacies allowed to remain open.
Regional authorities could not immediately confirm the shutdown plan which would signal a drastic step-up in Spain’s response to the rapidly-spreading virus.
Spain has the fifth most cases in the world and the second most in Europe, behind Italy, in an outbreak that has centred on Madrid and the Basque country.
All schools and universities were closed today and the city’s public transport network is being disinfected every day to kill any bacteria on surfaces.
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The hardest hit regions are Madrid, the Basque Country and La Rioja.
Health authorities in the Madrid region said the number of cases rose to 2,078 today.
The Basque Country, one of Spain’s wealthiest regions, has declared a health emergency which regional president Inigo Urkullu said would allow the region to declare quarantines rapidly if needed, evacuate people and restrict access to some areas.
Catalonia’s autonomous authorities have already placed 70,000 people on a 14-day lockdown in Igualada, Vilanova del Cami, Odena and Santa Margarida de Montbui.
Police roadblocks have been set up to prevent people entering or leaving the quarantine zone around 30 miles north of Barcelona.
Britons have been warned to stay away from the most badly-effected regions.
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The Foreign Office has updated its website advising against all but essential travel to Madrid, La Rioja, the municipalities of La Bastida and Vitoria in the Basque Country and Miranda de Ebro in Castilla y León.
Hundreds of thousands of Britons visit the affected areas every year.
The Foreign Office is not advising against travel to other areas of Spain or suggesting that British nationals in the country leave, as transport routes out remain open.
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