As of this morning, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated its guidelines for UK citizens wishing to travel to Spain.
The FCO is now advising against all but essential travel to Spain including the capital, Madrid.
From Tuesday, March 17, until the end of the current State of Alert, Spain will be closing its land borders to those wanting to enter the country, however, there are some exceptions.
If you are planning on visiting Spain for essential reasons, you should consult your airline or tour operator and follow the guidance from the UK FCO here https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain
Those Currently In Spain
For those wishing to leave Spain, the land, air and maritime borders remain open at this time.
If you are currently living in Spain or visiting, you should follow the advice of the local authorities.
EU Closes Borders Overnight
Meanwhile, the EU has begun to close the borders of the 27 member states in a bid to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus with a 30-day ban.
Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President has said that the only people exempt from the EU-wide travel ban would be long-term residents, family members of EU nationals, diplomats and those on the frontline dealing with the crisis, such as doctors and nurses.
Freight drivers would also be exempt from the restrictions - “The flow of goods to the European Union must continue to secure the supply of goods, including essential items such as medicine, but also food and components that our factories need.”
The ban would not include British citizens as they are currently European citizens.
Current Coronavirus Situation in Spain
As of 8:00 am on Tuesday, March 17, the Spanish Ministry of Health is reporting that 10,000 people have now been infected with the Coronavirus with 342 deaths.
The sharp increase in the number of Coronavirus infections over the last couple of weeks has led the Spanish authorities to impose certain restrictions from March 14 in order to reduce the spread as much as possible.
As a result, much of the country is now on lockdown meaning that citizens are only allowed to circulate if absolutely necessary, for example going to the hospital, food shopping (alone) or to visit a pharmacy.
Madrid has been hit especially hard by the virus, with over 4,000 infections and 213 deaths to date.
Regional authorities have now shut down all schools, universities and other educational facilities sending 1.4 million children and around 100,000 teachers home.
Local health authorities in the region have said they will take control of empty premises such as hotels and turn them into temporary medical centres in anticipation of further infections.
A Tsunami for the Spanish hotels
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Spanish hotel bookings have also plummeted with many hotels now completely empty with no new bookings coming in for the summer period.
Secretary-General Ramon Estalella of CEHAT, Spain’s hotels federation said, “A tsunami has arrived. A meteorite has fallen on us and we have to see how we survive."
It is thought that around 44 hotels on Ancalucia’s Costa’s have been closed with around 220 shut up across the whole of Andalucia.
The head of the Federation of Hotel Owners in Andalucia Luis Callejon Sune told Diario Sur it is “just the tip of the iceberg”.
Sune believes that the closure of a further 500 hotels in the region is imminent and will most likely occur in a matter of days.
Many hotels are not expected to open again until the beginning of the summer season in June.
Update: The Spanish government has now ordered hotels and short-stay accommodations including campsites and caravan parks to close by Tuesday, March 24.
The Spanish government has now ordered that hotels and short-stay accommodation (such as short-stay campsites or caravan parks) must close by Tuesday 24 March.
You can follow all the latest Coronavirus news in Spain here https://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/health-news/891-coronavirus-spain-latest-news-and-updates.html