It’s surreal, but true. Around 1,800 military soldiers are now in full action battling to prevent the spread of Coronavirus(COVID-19) in Malaga and across 27 other cities in Spain. They have been given orders to patrol the streets, airports and train and bus stations, as well as disinfect transport and public stations/spaces, amongst other duties.
The military troops comprise soldiers from Unidad Militar de Emergencias (UME), the land army (Ejército de Tierra) and the marines. The soldiers are already out in full force in Segovia, Toledo, Ávila, Aranjuez (Madrid), Granada, Mérida, Jerez, Alicante, Castellón, Santander, Araca (Vitoria), Oviedo, Pontevedra, Madrid, Málaga, Valladolid, Zaragoza, Sevilla, La Coruña, Valencia, Palma and Bahía de Cádiz.
According to reports, the Interior Ministry has specifically requested for all public transport and stations to be disinfected thoroughly, daily. The troops are also tasked with ensuring that strict social distancing measures are adhered to on public transport and stations, ensuring that all passengers maintain a distance of at least one meter and a half to two meters between each other, as dictated by the State of Alarm restrictions.
They are also responsible for making sure that all passengers travelling through the country’s stations are actually using public transport for ‘essential’ travel only. Public transport can only be used, for example, to and from work, or caring for a ‘vulnerable/elderly’ family member.