Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Spanish authorities to extend nationwide state of emergency until April 26 to stem spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Spain

This alert began 04 Apr 2020 13:51 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: State of emergency
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 26
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions, entry restrictions, increased security

Summary
The government plans to extend the ongoing nationwide state of emergency until April 26 as part of its efforts to combat the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic; the measure was set to expire on April 11. All non-essential workers are prohibited from commuting to their workplaces until April 9, though this date could also be extended.

The extended state of emergency allows authorities to continue a series of nationwide restrictions and puts the country's Ministry of Interior in control of all police forces, including local and regional law enforcement departments, and the National Ministry of Health in control of all public health authorities nationwide. Related restrictions include:

  • Closure of nonessential retail businesses, with employers urged to implement telecommuting policies; essential businesses, such as grocery stores, fueling stations, pharmacies, among others, will remain open
  • Ban on unnecessary travel
  • Suspension of demonstrations or gatherings of any type, and of public or private events of any type (including cultural, sporting, recreational, or religious events); suspension of discotheque and nightspot operations
  • Closure of resorts, swimming pools, and gyms
  • Closure of museums and other cultural sites
  • Closure of all schools and other educational institutions


These measures are in addition to a ban on foreign nationals entering Spain. Persons exempted from this measure include residents of Spain, Schengen Area residents transiting to home countries, cross-border commuters for essential work, diplomats, and others with exceptional circumstances. The restrictions do not apply to freight transport.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV2-virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Spain's Ministry of Health: mscbs.gob.es

Government of Spain (Twitter): twitter.com/desdelamoncloa

Spain's Ministry of the Interior (Twitter): twitter.com/interiorgob

World Health Organization (WHO): who.int