On Saturday, April 4, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that he will ask Congress to extend Spain's current state of emergency through Sunday, April 26, to curb further spread of the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. The state of emergency was originally enacted on Saturday, March 14, and is currently set to end on Saturday, April 11. Congress is expected to vote on whether to authorize the extension next week.
Under the state of emergency, the government is granted exceptional powers to limit the free movement of people and vehicles, and ration goods and services, among other powers. Residents are to restrict all movement except for going to work for essential employees, hospitals or health centers, and financial institutions, and shopping for groceries, pharmaceuticals, and other primary necessities. Nonessential employees have been instructed to stay home until at least Thursday, April 9. Schools, bars, restaurants, and most shops remain closed. All social gatherings are banned and police officers have been deployed to enforce the orders.
As of April 4, there have been 124,736 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Spain, including 11,744 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the coming days and weeks.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the general risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.