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Leroy N. Soetoro

Mar 14, 2020, 3:25:13 PM3/14/20

Spain is set to announce an Italian-style countrywide lockdown Saturday
after a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases.

Ahead of the announcement, airplanes on their way to the Iberian Peninsula
dramatically turned around midair.

Low-cost airline Jet2, which is based at nine airports in the United
Kingdom, halted all fights with immediate effect to mainland Spain after
the country saw cases rise by more than 1,500 to more than 5,700.

“In response to local measures introduced throughout Spain to prevent the
spread of COVID-19, including the closure of bars, restaurants, shops, and
activities including any water sports, we have taken the decision to
cancel all flights to Mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands, and the Canary
Islands with immediate effect,” the airline said in a statement.

Important update regarding travel to/from #Spain #Balearics #Canaries
#Majorca #Ibiza #Menorca #GranCanaria #Lanzarote #Tenerife #Fuerteventura

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This move forced flights already on their way to Spain to turn back
midflight, according to Sky News.

“We know these local measures will have a significant impact on our
customers’ holidays, which is why we have taken this decision,” the
airline’s statement continued, adding: “The health and safety of our
customers is our number one priority, and we would like to thank our
customers for understanding.”

The decision by Jet2 Airline comes as the World Health Organization (WHO)
declared Europe to be the new epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic after
seeing “more reported cases and deaths than the rest of (the) world
combined apart from China.”

“More cases are now being reported every day than were reported in China
at the height of its epidemic,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom
Ghebreyesus said Friday night.

In Europe, the hardest-hit country is Italy, with more than 1,000 deaths
and more than 17,600 infections overall.

Spain is the second most-affected European country and has seen more than
132 deaths. Health officials said Saturday coronavirus infections have
reached 5,753 people, of which almost 3,000 are in the capital of Madrid.

That represents a national increase of more than 1,500 in 24 hours.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is expected to declare a state of
emergency on Saturday, effectively locking down the country in an effort
to contain the outbreak. The lockdown will reportedly start Monday at 8
a.m. local time, local media reported.

Residents in Madrid and northeast Catalonia woke up Saturday to shuttered
bars and restaurants while other nonessential commercial outlets were
closed by regional authorities.

The Madrid government told Spaniards to stay home except to buy food or
medicine, go to the hospital, go to work or other emergencies, according
to a draft decree seen by Reuters.

According to El Pais, the new decree draft stated that "the head of the
Interior Ministry will be able to impose the closure of freeways or
sections of the same for reasons of public health, safety or movement of
traffic, or the restriction of determined vehicles to them for the same

Sanchez is expected to roll out the restrictions throughout Saturday.

A state of emergency allows the central government to limit free movement,
legally confiscate goods and take over control of industries and private
facilities, including private hospitals. It's only the second time that
the government has evoked it since the return of democracy in the late
1970s. The other was declared during a 2010 air traffic controllers'

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump announced that travel from
Europe would be restricted for 30 days – although the U.K. and Ireland are
not included.

The Department of Homeland security clarified that it affects most foreign
nationals who were in Europe’s passport-free “Schengen Area” within 14
days prior to traveling to the U.S.

On Friday, Trump declared a national emergency for the U.S.

Fox News' Adam Shaw and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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President Trump has boosted the economy, reduced illegal immigration,
appointed dozens of judges and created jobs.

Senile loser and NAMBLA supporter Nancy Pelosi got "Trumped" on February
5, 2020. "President Trump, Not Guilty."
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