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Andalucia, in the south of Spain, is closing down its borders tonight in a bid to stem the escalating COVID-19 cases. The country currently has 1,136,503 confirmed cases of the deadly virus at the time of writing, according to John Hopkins University. The news of the lockdown was announced last night and comes into force at midnight today.
The regional government of the second largest autonomous community in Spain said it will last until at least November 9.
Andalucia is home not only to the Costa del Sol coastline, much loved by Britons, but also to tourist cities Granada and Seville.
The provinces of both, along with Jaén, have been slapped with an additional interior boundary closure by Junta president, Juanma Moreno.
The Spanish night-time curfew will also have to be observed between 11pm and 6am.
From midnight, no one will be able to enter or leave Andalusia unless for a just cause such as for work or for medical reasons.
Granada, Jaén and Seville provinces, which are at defined alert level four by the Government, have the additional mobility restrictions between all their municipalities.
“In total there are 450 Andalusian municipalities that are going to be closed on the perimeter. 4.3 million Andalusians live in these municipalities, half of our population, who will not be able to enter and leave their towns except for just cause,” said Moreno.
The Andalusian president has asked residents of the 335 remaining towns and cities not to leave their municipal limits if it is not essential to do so.
“One of the weapons we have against the coronavirus is to limit mobility, knowing that this measure works like a tap,” he said.
“If we open it, mobility increases, infections increase and economic activity increases and if we close the tap, mobility is reduced and contagions, but also this activity.”
The Andalusian government has also ordered the closure of restaurants and cafes at 10.30pm.
What’s more, from midnight on Thursday, meetings in the public and private sphere will be limited to a maximum of six people, with the exceptions of groups who are living together.
Moreno said these measures will be reviewed every two weeks from November 9, except for emergency incidents.
Extra police and security forces have been requested to make sure the mobility restrictions are adhered to.
He said his main obligation was to protect the life and health of people and, as far as possible, the economy of Andalusia.
“Without a vaccine or an effective treatment against the coronavirus, today there is no other way to contain the virus other than by limiting mobility and strengthening health services,” he said.
The Spanish government declared a nationwide State of Emergency on October 25.
The strict new measures are expected to be in place for an initial period of at least 15 days.
Only the Canary Islands are exempt from the curfew.
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.
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