The closure of schools in the capital on Wednesday has led to an exodus by Madrileños to holiday homes in rural areas and along the coast.
For many families, relocating from Madrid while the schools were closed and companies asked employees to work from home seemed like a sensible option to escape the confines of small city apartments.
People are fleeing Madrid unsurprisingly… trains are leaving packed and coming back empty https://t.co/OUtK3RntPl
— Annie Bennett (@madridexpert) March 13, 2020
But there has been a huge backlash as such actions only serve to spread the virus from the epicentre in Madrid to outlying areas.
The number of cases had soared to over 4,200 by Friday lunchtime with 120 deaths, more than half in Madrid.
Murcia has ordered the quarantine of all its coastal resorts because of the arrival of visitors from Madrid who potentially could be infected with the coronavirus.
— Gobierno regional (@regiondemurcia) March 13, 2020
The towns of San Pedro, San Javier, Los Alcázares, Cartagena, La Unión, Mazarrón and Águilas have all been locked down.
The town halls of Gandía and Cullera took the decision on Friday to close its beaches to discourage such tourism.
Beaches on that stretch of the Valencia coast will fly the red flag to indicate that bathing is prohibited to discourage crowds of people gathering on the beach.
“The message here is stay at home,” said Jordi Mayor, the mayor of Cullera. “We are facing a pandemic and courageous measures are needed. From today the red flag will fly on the beaches of Cullera:”
Coastal regions have expressed concern that their own hospitals will become overwhelmed treating patients with the coronavirus who have travelled from other parts of Spain.
Murcia has already seen its first serious cases in those who arrived in the region from Madrid in the last few days.
- ‘Stay at home': How to self-isolate in Spain and what to do if you have symptoms
- Coronavirus lockdown: First four towns quarantined in Spain