Spain closes all hotels due to worsening infection rates

Published:  24 Mar at 6 PM
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British expat businesses in Spain face ruin as all hotels close.

As Spain’s coronavirus statistics soar, the government has given an order that all hotels must close today, adding tourists must make arrangements to leave the country as soon as is practicable. In addition, the hard-hit country is now in lockdown, with a ban on leaving home unless it’s totally necessary. According to the British Foreign Office, visitors and expats wishing to return home should make immediate travel plans via contact with an airline or tour operator.

The Spanish lockdown means no-one can leave home unless it’s to buy supplies, get medical assistance or go to work, with the pandemic now the worst in the whole of Europe with the exception of Italy. The new rules mean the breakdown of holiday plans as well as expat travel within the country, and are likely to be the last straw for British SMEs attempting to stay afloat until the pandemic subsides.

British tourists as well as expat residents in Cyprus and Morocco are facing the same problems, with many visitors accusing airlines of stranding them or charging extortionate fees for a return flight to the UK. One Briton holidaying in Morocco with his heavily pregnant partner told local media they’ve been abandoned by the British Embassy as well as by easyJet and are trapped in the country as a result.

In Spain, the fines for breaching lockdown rules can be as high as £27,200, a sum very few expats or tourists could cover. Madrid and its surroundings are worst hit, with its 5,637 cases representing some 41 per cent of the Spanish total and the 390 death toll standing at around two-thirds of the country’s total. As with a number of other countries including the USA, the shortage of test kits is one reason for the soaring number of infections and deaths.

According to Spain’s Health Minister, a new batch of test kits is due to arrive, allowing doctors to test all those showing symptoms of viral infection. However, as with other countries in a similar situation, totals of positive cases are likely to soar, especially as the Spanish PM has just reported the virus isn’t believed to have peaked at this time.
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