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13 Mar 2020 | 07:29 AM UTC

Spain: Government places four localities on lockdown in Catalonia as of March 12 /update 5

Government places four localities on lockdown in Catalonia as of March 12 and bans public gatherings to prevent spread of COVID-19 pandemic; further restrictions possible in the near term



As of Thursday, March 12, at 21:00 (local time), the Igualada, Vilanova del Cami, Santa Margarida de Montbui, and Odena municipalities will be quarantined due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Consequently, the estimated 70,000 impacted individuals cannot leave their respective locality but are nonetheless able to leave their homes and move within the locality. All events gathering more than 1000 individuals are also banned in the Catalonia region while sporting events will be carried out without spectators.

Authorities had also previously banned indoor gatherings of more than 1000 people in the affected regions of Madrid, La Rioja, Vitoria, and Labastida.

On Tuesday, March 10, the Spanish government announced that all flights between Spain and Italy will be suspended from Wednesday, March 11, until Wednesday, March 25

Schools in the worst affected regions of Madrid, the Basque Country, and La Rioja will be closed for two weeks as a precautionary measure starting from Wednesday, March 11.

As of March 13, there have been over 3864 cases of the virus confirmed in Spain, along with 90 related deaths. Further international spread of the virus is 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 (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.


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, anticipate business disruptions, 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.

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.