Spain orders town of 32,000 into lockdown for two weeks

Spanish authorities have ordered about 32,000 people into lockdown in the central riverside town of Aranda de Duero in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Spain orders town of 32,000 into lockdown for two weeks
Aranda de Duero | CESAR MANSO / AFP

Known for its vineyards, Aranda de Duero residents will find their movements restricted to the absolute minimum and be barred from entering or leaving the town which lies 150 kilometres (90 miles) north of Madrid. 

The move comes just six weeks after a nationwide easing of such measures. Other areas have already put local lockdowns in place, including in the Basque Country, Catalonia and Aragon regions.

Spain has so far been one of the countries worst affected by the pandemic, with 310,000 registered infections and 28,500 deaths.

An AFP photographer saw police setting up checkpoints around Aranda de Duero, which will remain in lockdown for at least two weeks.

Officers will check ID documents of those entering and prevent anyone from leaving without a valid reason.

The photographer saw that several goods trucks were able to enter the town. 

“It's all calm here, of course we're a little afraid. Some shops have closed but overall it seems almost like a normal day,” clothes shop worker Maria Jose Fernandez told AFP by phone. “You can see that people's morale has suffered, because we don't know what's going to happen.”

Nationwide, Spain has added 19,405 new coronavirus cases in the past week, but the health ministry says the country is not entering a second wave of the pandemic. 

Among regions, Catalonia was the worst hit in the past seven days with 5,100 cases, while neighbouring Aragon recorded 4,100.

But with 312 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, Aragon is a greater cause for concern in terms of the infection rate.

Local authorities have imposed different forms of lockdown, with Barcelona requesting residents not to leave their homes while Aranda de Duero citizens face police checks.

Spain's nationwide lockdown lasted from mid-March until June 21, but the government has ruled out re-imposing it across the country.

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When and where will face masks still be mandatory in Spain?

Masks will soon no longer be mandatory on public transport in Spain, but when and where will they still be obligatory?

When and where will face masks still be mandatory in Spain?

Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias confirmed on January 26th that face masks would no longer be compulsory on public transport, a measure that has been in place in Spain for almost three years.  

She added that it would be approved at the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System on Tuesday, February 7th.  

Then on Thursday, February 2nd Darias elaborated further, confirming that as well as on public transport masks will not be required in health establishments such as opticians, hearing and orthopaedic centres, where they had been up until now.  

She said that they will, however, still be mandatory in all other health centres, pharmacies and hospitals, as well as in care homes.

The Spanish government will approve the measure on Tuesday February 7th and it will enter into force when it is published in the Official State Bulletin (BOE), which usually occurs the following day.

READ ALSO: Spain announces end of public transport face mask rule

This means that most likely from February 8th masks will no longer be required on public transport, but you will still have to wear them in pharmacies and hospitals and doctors’ offices. 

The use of masks ceased to be mandatory outdoors almost a year ago, on February 10th, 2022.

Then, two months later on April 20th, the government announced they wouldn’t be required indoors either, except in health centres and on public transport. 

Covid-19 controls at airports in Spain

Darias also announced the results of the controls carried out by the Foreign Health Department on travellers coming on direct flights from China.

Controls have been carried out on a total of 1,765 travellers and three people have tested positive for Covid-19, she confirmed.

The three positives were confirmed by PCR and the virus was sequenced, showing that it was the same strain that is currently already dominant in Spain.