The Spanish Government has this afternoon approved an Italian-style lockdown to limit the movement of its 46 million citizens across Spain. The restrictions will apply from 8 o’clock on Monday morning, limiting all movement to buying food or medicines or travel to work for approximately 15 days.
The restrictions are said to be similar to Italy’s lockdown. Public transport won’t be shut down completely, but the frequency of all travel will be reduced by at least 50%. In short, all transport services – whether by sea, rail, road and air – will be cut by half.
The government has assured the public that they will still have access to basic supplies as supermarkets will not close. Businesses permitted to remain open are limited to supermarkets, bakeries, fishmongers, butcher’s shops, greengrocers, pharmacies, petrol stations, tobacconists and newspaper kiosks. All other commercial and public establishments will remain closed.
The Government has also announced that it will ensure the production and distribution of basic products and services are maintained. It now has additional powers to take over factories, companies and commercial entities, to ensure the provision of basic goods and services. The Government also retains the right to ration the distribution of basic items, and issue the necessary orders, if/when required.
All security forces across Spain will now be under the authority of the Interior Ministry. Additionally, officers will be given special powers to make additional/necessary checks on people, vehicles, buildings and establishments for the duration of the State of Emergency. The army may also be drafted in – as and when – necessary.
The main message from the Government and the health authorities in Spain today is to ‘stay at home’. A national campaign #QuedateEnCasa (#StayAtHome) has also gone viral on both television and social media, encouraging its citizens to do the ‘responsible thing’ by staying indoors to avoid getting or spreading the virus – and, more importantly, not put additional pressure on a health service that’s already in crisis.