Spain has officially shut its land borders in a bid to stop the spread of the rapidly growing coronavirus pandemic. Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska confirmed last night there would be new controls on borders.
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He added the Government would only allow Spaniards, residents of Spain, cross-border workers, diplomats and people justifying force majeure into the country.
The new border controls came into place at midnight last night.
It comes as Spain pushes forward with a nationwide lockdown, mirroring actions of those taken by Germany and France.
Spain officially became the fourth-most-infected country in the world, surpassing South Korea as its arc of contagion curved higher.
Only China, Italy and Iran have more confirmed cases of COVID-19 than Spain, where the health ministry said the number of infections increased overnight by roughly 20 percent to 9,942 and the number of fatalities rose to 342.
Around 47 million Spanish residents have been banned from leaving their home with the exception of those going to work, buying food, going to a hospital, or supporting an elderly person or child.
However, the ban will not affect the flow of goods coming in and out of the country.
“Only Spaniards, residents, cross-border citizens, and those who can accredit reasons of force majerure or diplomatic status will be allowed access” explained the Minister of Interior Affairs, Grande-Marlaska.
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“Our objective is to bend the curve of rising cases, on both a national and European level” he added.
Anodrra and Gibraltar will not be under the same rule.
It is thought the lockdown will last for a minimum for 15 days.
The EU has similarly closed its borders, though Britons are still allowed to come and go at present.
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What does the Spanish lockdown mean for British holidaymakers?
Britons currently on holiday in Spain are advised to contact their travel provider or tour operator to find out what is best for their situation.
Many airlines are now cancelling flights to the country, and amending itineraries to align with the travel bans popping up across the globe.
Airlines, including easyJet, will continue to offer rescue flights to Britons currently trapped in affected regions.
easyJet issued a statement saying: “”These actions will continue on a rolling basis for the foreseeable future and could result in the grounding of the majority of the easyJet fleet.
“EasyJet will continue to operate rescue flights for short periods where we can, in order to repatriate customers.”
Ryanair similarly took steps to ground flights, with CEO Michael O’Leary issuing a statement saying: “At the Ryanair Group Airlines, we are doing everything we can to meet the challenge posed by the Covid-19 outbreak, which has over the last week caused extraordinary and unprecedented travel restrictions to be imposed by National Governments, in many cases with minimal or zero notice.
“We are communicating with all affected passengers by email and SMS, and we are organising rescue flights to repatriate customers, even in those countries where travel bans have been imposed.”
Concerned Britons on holiday in impacted regions should get in contact with their airline in order to arrange travel back on a rescue flight if necessary.
Additional reporting by RockMedia.
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