On Wednesday up to 1.2 million students of all ages in the capital stayed home as the initial 15-day period of closure began. Half of Spain’s reported 2,182 cases are concentrated in the Madrid region. A total of 49 people in Spain have died from coronavirus.
But, the government may have missed certain important points when rolling out measures to stem the spread of coronavirus.
As parents headed to work on Wednesday without anywhere to leave their children, public parks in Madrid were packed with grandparents looking after their grandchildren.
Elderly people and the chronically ill are at a greater risk of contracting the viral disease and dying from it.
The situation in Spain has accelerated rapidly in recent days and on Tuesday Spain’s Prime Minister said he had asked the European Commission to relax fiscal rules to ease economic impact from coronavirus.
Pedro Sanchez also announced measures to guarantee the adequate supply of medicines and open credit lines to small businesses hit by the coronavirus epidemic.
Spain followed Italy’s lead on Monday when it announced the two-week closure of schools.
Although the coronavirus figures in Spain are among the highest in Europe, the country is still far behind Italy.
Isabel Diaz Ayuso, the head of the Madrid region, said the decision to halt sessions for children and adults was not taken lightly.
She told a news conference: ”It wasn’t easy to make this decision but public health must come above everything,”
The shutdown includes nurseries and vocational training centres as well as primary and secondary schools and universities.
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Ms Ayuso advised the elderly and people with serious illnesses to stay at home.
Spanish health minister Salvador Illa appealed for people to be understanding during what can be a disruptive and frustrating time.
He said: ”These measures imply a disruption to normal activity in these places, but I appeal for your understanding as they are measures that we consider necessary in these areas.”
Schools and universities in the Basque capital Vitoria will also close for two weeks, sending tens of thousands of pupils home.
This will affect 63,000 students, the Basque newspaper El Correo said.
Some parents expressed concerns, not least about finding childcare.
“I don’t know if it will be beneficial or will cause more alarm,” Mikel Arrikstain, 38, said as he collected his child from school in Vitoria.
Prime Minister Sanchez said the government was preparing what he called a “shock therapy” plan to mitigate the impact of the virus on the economy.
Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said the government was considering temporary measures to support the worst-hit industries, including tourism.
But she said the government expected the economic impact of the virus to be temporary and limited.
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