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09 Mar 2020 | 10:01 PM UTC

Spain: Educational institutes suspended in Madrid region and Vitoria March 9-25 /update 3

All educational intitutes to close in Madrid region and Vitoria between March 9-25 due to coronavirus (COVID-19); further business disruptions and containment measures possible

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Event

The government of the Community of Madrid announced on Monday, March 9, that all educational institutes in the region will close from Wednesday, March 11, through Wednesday, March 25, to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Authorities in Madrid also advised against all non-essential travel out of the area, and advised individuals to avoid leaving their residence unless strictly necessary.

Education officials in Basque Country also confirmed that all education activities are suspended in Vitoria city from Monday, March 9, through Sunday, March 22. The Ministry of Health confirmed 150 cases of COVID-19 in Basque Country as of Monday. However, health officials recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Madrid region at 469. Officials have confirmed 1204 COVID-19 cases nationwide as of 18:00 (local time) on Monday, including 28 associated fatalities.

Iberia airline's flights to and from Shanghai remain canceled through April.

Context

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 (Hubei province, 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 February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

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.

Advice

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 non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with 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, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.