Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is expected to declare a lockdown in Spain today as the number of coronavirus cases soars by 1,500 in just 24 hours.
Under the decree being finalised, the 46 million people inside the country would reportedly be allowed out only for emergencies, to buy food, or for work.
It comes as budget airline Jet2 announces all flights to mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands are cancelled with ‘immediate effect’ and TUI cancels holidays to Spain over the coming weekend.
But with thousands of Britons set to go on holiday to the southwestern European country or already living out there, what will happen?
What exactly has happened in Spain?
With 191 deaths and 6,046 infections confirmed, Spain is expected to declare a 15-day national lockdown to tackle coronavirus.
According to the draft of the government order, people will only be allowed to leave their homes to buy food and medicine, commute to work, go to medical centers and banks, or take trips related to the care for the young and the elderly.
These limitations will take hold at Monday at 8:00 a.m.– but the country will reportedly close all restaurants, bars, hotels, education centers nationwide, and other non-essential retail outlets immediately.
The government said that the official measures to be taken are open to last-minute changes before the prime minister details them in his address.
Does the lockdown include closing Spanish airspace?
The Spanish state of emergency does not automatically mean the borders will be closed or airspace restrictions will be imposed – but some reports have suggested this drastic measure could also come into effect.
An initial draft of the emergency plan is said to suggest that all public transport would be curtailed, with airline, train, bus and boat operators told they need to cut their services by at least half.
Any plane, train, bus or other means of transport will only be allowed to be a third full, but the draft decree does not foresee closing the country’s borders.
However, the exact terms of the lockdown remain unknown until Pedro Sánchez makes an announcement.
What will happen to Britons living in Spain?
The Foreign Office told Metro.co.uk they would release a statement in the coming hours on how they will be helping British citizens in Spain.
What if I booked a holiday with Jet2 or TUI?
In a statement this morning, Jet2 said all flights from Britain to mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands were cancelled ‘with immediate effect’.
A spokesperson for the budget airline said the move was a reaction to the lockdown measures which would ‘have a significant impact on our customers’ holidays’.
In a statement, Jet2 urged customers not to call, saying staff would be in contact to present them with options.
TUI has axed all flights and holidays to Spain until Monday, with flights to Malta, Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Cyprus also affected.
In a statement TUI said: ‘Following local measures put in place by the Spanish Authorities, including closing some hotel facilities and the local bars, restaurants and beaches we have made the difficult decision to cancel holidays due to travel between 14 and 16 March.
‘Although there is currently no advice from the UK Government against travelling to Spain it would not be the holiday experience we would want for our customers.’
TUI said it will also be contacting customers affected to offer alternatives.
Anyone who has booked a flight or holiday should also familiarise themselves with the exact wording and terms of their travel insurance policies, to check what they are covered for.
Can I fly with another airline?
At the time of writing, no other airline has announced that they are cancelling all flights to Spain.
easyJet told Metro.co.uk the company’s flying programme to and from Spain will operate as scheduled at the moment, but they are awaiting further information from the Spanish authorities.
However, many airlines have faced disruptions to schedules as flights are cancelled due to lack of demand amid the outbreak.
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