Spain introduces strict controls on domestic travel

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 21, 2020
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MADRID, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The Spanish government on Friday introduced strict controls on roads leading out of the country's main cities in order to keep people inside during the coronavirus lockdown, which is part of the "state of alarm" declared six days ago.

The government explained in a communique that the Civil Guard will carry out 30,000 controls over the weekend in an attempt to prevent people from traveling to their second homes in the countryside or at the beach.

Jose Angel Gonzalez, director of operations for Spain's national police force, insisted at the government's daily that people "cannot travel" unless they go to work in a vital occupation, visit the pharmacy, shop for "essential" goods or care for vulnerable people, the elderly or minors.

He said that the weekend will see "stronger vigilance" on the roads leading out of Spain's cities.

Civil Guard Lieutenant General Laurentino Cena explained at the same press conference that the Civil Guard had carried out 15,000 controls on interurban roads on Thursday and arrested 75 people for violating the regulations.

Friday saw the number of confirmed coronavirus cases increase to 19,980, and 1,002 fatalities were reported by the Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Services.

The government explained that hotels are being converted into temporary hospitals for patients with less serious illnesses, while 50,000 extra medical staff have been called up to help control the crisis.

It has also been confirmed that the IFEMA Exhibition Center in Madrid, which was the venue for the COP25 Climate Conference in December 2019, is also being converted into a temporary field hospital with 5,000 beds and an intensive care unit to help deal with possible new cases.

Members of the Spanish Military Emergencies Unit are currently installing these hospitals, which Health Minister Salvador Illa confirmed on Friday will be "ready in the coming days." Enditem

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