CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: Spain fines over 1 million lockdown dodgers

Spain imposed one of the strictest lockdowns worldwide to combat the spread of Covid-19 and the police have proved equally zealous, arresting over 8,000 people.

Un Policía Nacional bloquea el paso a una protestante durante la manifestación
Eduardo Sanz / Europa Press Eduardo Sanz / Europa Press

The authorities in Spain reacted to the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic by imposing one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe and worldwide, at the height of which children were forced to spend several weeks without seeing the outside world and residents faced fines or arrest for breaking the regulations set out by the government to combat the spread of Covid-19.

And the law enforcement agencies were only too happy to enforce it. Since the state of emergency was declared by the leftist coalition government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on 14 March and the country locked down with immediate effect, Spain’s various police forces have dished out over one million fines to would-be lockdown dodgers.

In total, as of Wednesday 20 May, Spain had issued 1,013,747 fines and arrested 8,418 people for flouting the lockdown regulations according to Interior Ministry statistics.

Easter weekend saw biggest hike in Covid-19 fines

The peak in fines and arrests came over the weekend of 11-12 April, which would have been the Easter Bank Holiday weekend under normal circumstances. The police forces handed out over 50,000 fines and arrested 441 people in two days.

By contrast, France handed out 915,000 fines during the five weeks of the nationwide lockdown, according to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

In Italy, the interior ministry said that 310,323 fines had been issued between 28 March and 17 May while in the UK just 13,455 people have been fined up to 15 May during the fairly relaxed lockdown imposed by the government of Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson.