Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Spain orders complete border shut down

The Spanish government has decided to take the emergency measure of closing all air, land and sea entry points to combat the Covid-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus: Spain orders complete border shut down
Marcial Guillén EFE

The Spanish government has announced the complete shut down of all border entry points to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the country. The emergency measure will come into effect as of midnight on Monday, the Interior Ministry said.

Spain has already introduced sweeping restrictions on movement within the country in response to the spread of the Covid-19 virus, which as of 15:00 on Monday had claimed 329 victims with cases rising to almost 10,000 across the nation

A state of emergency was announced by the central government on Saturday, which obliged tens of millions of residents to remain in their homes for an initial period of two weeks. An act of parliament is in place to grant congress the possibility of extending that time frame if it is deemed necessary and on Monday Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska took the decision to close all of Spain's borders in response to a steep rise in cases of Covid-19

Spain second behind Italy in day-on-day Covid-19 cases

Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska on Monday.

As of Monday, Spain was the fourth worst-affected country worldwide by the coronavirus outbreak and second in terms of day-on-day exponential increases in confirmed case numbers, behind only Italy. The World Health Organization has now declared Europe the epicentre of the pandemic and Grande-Marlaska invoked Article 28 of the Schengen Agreement to shut down all frontiers. 

"The Spanish government has agreed to re-establish border controls at Spanish frontiers," Grande-Marlaska said. "The measure has been taken with the containment of Covid-19 as a priority and will come into effect at 00:00 on Monday." Grande-Marlaska added that other EU nations, including France, had been consulted and agreed to the decision. Supply chains for essential goods such as food and medicines will be guaranteed, the minister said.

"Until the state of emergency has concluded only those Spanish citizens acting under force majeure or situations of utmost necessity will be permitted to enter via land routes," Grande-Marlaska added. "The Spanish government will do all it can to facilitate the return to the country of all Spaniards who find themselves abroad at this time and wish to come back within the shortest possible time frame."