Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Spain will further ease measures introduced to control spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from May 25; some restrictions remain.

This alert affects Spain

This alert began 24 May 2020 10:55 GMT and is scheduled to expire 06 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions

Summary
Spain will further ease measures imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from May 25. Numerous regions of the country will pass to Phase 2 of the government's four-phase recovery plan aimed at gradually lifting COVID-19-related restrictions, including Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Basque Country, Castilla La Mancha, La Rioja, Aragon, Navarra, Extramadura, Murcia, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Ceuta, Melilla, parts of Catalonia, and parts of Andalusia. Phase 2 of the recovery plan allows additional nonessential businesses to reopen and further eases movement restrictions. Outdoor exercise is permitted individually or in pairs; families may move freely in their communities, and gatherings of up to 15 people are permitted. Persons over 70 may only exercise 1000-1200 and 1900-2000. Most nonessential businesses, bars, and restaurants may reopen, provided they do not exceed 40 percent capacity. Nightclubs may not reopen. Hotels, shopping centers, cinemas, theaters, and public pools may reopen provided they do not exceed 30 percent capacity. Places of worship may also reopen at 50 percent capacity. Persons may visit public beaches and other public spaces; social distancing guidelines must be maintained. Facemasks are mandatory on public transport and in places where social distancing measures cannot be maintained.

The remainder of the country has moved to Phase 1, including Barcelona, Madrid, Granada, and Malaga. Individuals in these regions will be able to travel freely within their region and gather in groups of up to 10 people. Officials will permit museums, houses of worship, markets, restaurants, cafes, and bars to reopen, though these must operate at significantly reduced capacity. All businesses must implement strict precautions, including the use of personal protective equipment, and some may only allow one client inside the establishment at a time. Specific periods for different age groups to exercise will remain in effect, though local authorities are empowered to alter them.

Spanish officials previously voted to extend the nationwide state of alarm, which empowers the government to curtail freedom of movement, to June 6. Numerous travel and movement restrictions remain in place. Authorities require many international arrivals to self-isolate for 14 days. During the self-isolation period, individuals may only leave their residence for essential purposes, such as buying groceries or seeking medical attention. This measure does not apply to freight transport workers, aircraft crew members, cross-border workers, residents of Spain, Schengen Area residents transiting to their home countries, cross-border commuters for essential work, diplomats, and others with exceptional circumstances. Authorities are maintaining controls at air, land, and sea borders; most foreign nationals remain barred from entering Spain.

The Ministry of Health is monitoring the evolution of disease activity in the country and will continue to make decisions on progression through the four-phase recovery plan at a local level. 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 Spanish government are similar to 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.


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