On Wednesday, May 20, Spanish authorities published a ministerial order making the use of face masks compulsory in public spaces from Thursday, May 21. Per the directive, masks will be required on public streets, open spaces, and closed public spaces where keeping a 2 m (6.5 ft) interpersonal distance may not be possible. The previous requirement of face masks in public transport will also remain in place. The measure will only apply only to those over six years old; however, the government has recommended the use of face masks for children aged between three and five years old.
Several airports across Spain resumed operations as of Monday, May 18. Airports that have been allowed to reopen include Tenerife, Alicante, Seville, Menorca, and Ibiza airports, as well as Barcelona's El Prat (BCN), Gran Canaria (LPA) in the Canaries, Barajas (MAD) in Madrid, and Málaga-Costa del Sol (AGP) and Palma de Mallorca (PMI) in the Balearics. While the airports have been permitted to reopen to international traffic, restrictions regarding who is allowed to fly remain in place.
All incoming travelers, including Spanish citizens, are required to self-quarantine for 14 days as of May 15. Quarantined individuals will only be permitted to leave their homes for essential needs and health-related reasons. Freight drivers, air and ship crews, and healthcare professionals will be exempted from the quarantine.
Spanish authorities have eased certain COVID-19 restrictions throughout the country with the exception of Madrid, Barcelona, and Girona. Officials stated that the three cities did not yet fulfill the criteria required for the easing of measures. Under current lockdown restrictions, schools, bars, restaurants, and most shops remain closed. All social gatherings remain prohibited. Residents are being ordered to restrict all movement, except when traveling to hospitals or health centers, financial institutions, grocery stores, and pharmacies.
Individuals have been permitted to leave their homes to exercise alone, and those living in the same residence are permitted to go for short walks together. Further easing of restrictions is set to occur as long as COVID-19 death rates continue to fall with the government stating that it is aiming to fully lift restrictions by the end of June. Additionally, Spanish authorities announced an extension to the current state of emergency until Sunday, May 24.
As of May 20, authorities have confirmed 232,555 cases of COVID-19 in the country and 27,888 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
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.
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