Spain Declares Nationwide Quarantine as Europe Becomes Center of Pandemic


Spain will declare a nationwide lockdown Saturday as Europe is identified as the new epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic amid declining numbers of new cases in Asia.

Starting Monday morning, people will be required to remain at home unless they are buying food, going to work, taking care of elderly relatives, or traveling for similar reasons, El Mundo reported. Leaving the home for leisure activities will be strictly prohibited.

According to the Spanish Health Ministry, cases of coronavirus have jumped over 35 percent, reaching 5,753 on Saturday while the death toll rose to 136.

Some restrictions on travel in Spain are already been in place, with many airlines canceling flights or turning around mid-flight, Bloomberg reported.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also declared a national “state of alarm” on Friday in order to give the government the power to take extraordinary steps — like prohibiting the free movement of people throughout the country — to address the pandemic, according to Politico.

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The government can also take over the means of production, impose rations and requisition goods under the state of alarm.

The state of alarm lasts for 15 days, but the Spanish parliament can extend it if needed.

Spain is now the second European country to go into lockdown, joining Italy in taking this measure.

Italy has recorded over 250 deaths in the past 24 hours, with the number of fatalities soaring past 1,000 and 17,600 cases overall, Fox News reported.

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Other European countries have seen a recent spike in coronavirus cases. In France, the number of confirmed cases reached over 3,600 after 800 new cases were reported Friday. In Britain, the number of confirmed cases jumped from 590 to nearly 800.

World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in a media conference that Europe has become the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Europe has now become the epicenter of the pandemic with more reported cases and deaths then the rest of the world combined apart from China,” he said. “More cases are now being reported every day then were reported in China at the highest of this epidemic.”

You can see excepts of his comments here:

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“Our message to countries continues to be: You must take a comprehensive approach. Not testing alone, not contact tracing alone, not quarantine, not social distancing alone,” he added.

“Do it all.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described how widely the coronavirus could spread without countermeasures, Reuters reported.

“When the virus is out there, the population has no immunity and no therapy exists, then 60 percent to 70 percent of the population will be infected,” she said.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith