Spain stumbles into lockdown as expats and tourists flee

Published:  16 Mar at 6 PM
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Expats, tourists, students and citizens alike are all now under Spain’s emergency lockdown.

As the Spanish sun rises this morning and the pandemic takes a tighter hold across the entire country, the government’s emergency decree movement restrictions imprison the vast majority of residents with just a few exceptions. The vast majority of the population is now forced to stay indoors and forbidden to use public roads unless they’re shopping for food, medicines and a few other basic necessities.

Going to health appointments, travelling to and from the workplace, assisting in care for children the elderly, disabled or vulnerable citizens and going to the bank are permitted, but any other social or recreational activity is forbidden by law. Reports are now coming in of deserted cities and empty beaches and a military presence in major cities including Madrid, Seville, Valencia and Las Palmas has been drafted in to ensure order on the streets.

President of the Spanish Balearic Islands Francina Armengol has urged would-be visitors to hold off their trips for at least two weeks, with those who do arrive facing a two-week quarantine lockdown in their hotels. For expat residents returning to the islands, the same applies due to fears that new arrivals will accelerate the spread of the infection.

Webcams from across the country are showing National Police patrols as well as those operated by the Guardia Civil and a number of private company security guards, giving an eerie atmosphere redolent of a police state in a movie. Fines for disobeying recent orders are believed to be set as high as £25,000, with those British expats and tourists who didn’t make it out by 8 a.m. today keeping a very low profile as a result!
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