Spain to close borders at midnight tonight

In a dramatic move in the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the Government has decreed the reestablishment of land border controls within the framework of the containment measures of COVID-19. This measure will take effect at 00:00 hours tonight and will continue for the duration of the state of alarm.

The objective of this measure, like the other resolutions adopted under the Royal Decree of the State of Alarm, is to protect the health and safety of citizens and contain the coronavirus.

From midnight tonight only Spanish citizens will be allowed to enter national territory by land; people residing in Spain; cross-border workers and those who have documentation to prove causes of force majeure or a situation of need.

The resolution states that this restriction will not apply to the transport of goods "in order to ensure the continuity of economic activity and to preserve the supply chain."

Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to Spain

In the latest development in the coronavirus emergency in Spain, Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) this morning advised against all but essential travel to Spain.

Spain declared a State of Emergency (“Estado de Alarma”) on 14 March, which introduces a series of measures including significant restrictions on movement throughout the country in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Transport services will be operating at reduced levels. Public
gatherings are banned, most shops other than those selling food or other
essential items such as pharmacies will be closed, many businesses and
all schools and universities are closed, and all citizens have been
instructed to remain at home except when going about a limited set of
activities in particular to buy food or other essential items, to return
home to their primary residence, to go to hospital or other health
centres, to go to work (if unable to work from home), to carry out
caring or similar duties or in case of real need.

UK nationals currently in Spain should follow the advice of local authorities. Anybody planning to travel to Spain should consult their airline or tour operator.

The latest figures from Spain gave reported over 6,000 cases and 197 deaths.

BREAKING NEWS: Spain finally approves State of Alarm

Spain finally approved the State of Alarm decree on Saturday evening.

After a seven-hour meeting with ministers, including vice president and UP leader Pablo Iglesias, who broke quarantine to attend, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced the following measures

All state authorities at the disposal of the government. It will only be possible to circulate on the streets to buy food, go to the hospital or go to work

As of last night people will are confined to their homes except in specific cases. They are:

1. Procurement of food, pharmaceuticals and basic necessities
2. Assistance to health centres.
3. Travel to the place of work for work, professional or business purposes.
4. Return to the place of habitual residence.
5. Assistance and care of the elderly, children, dependants, disabled persons or particularly vulnerable persons
6. Travel to financial institutions
7. Due to severe necesity.
8. Any other activity of a similar nature duly justified.

Similarly, private vehicles will be allowed to drive on public roads to carry out the activities referred to above or to refuel at petrol stations or service stations. In any case, the recommendations and obligations issued by the health authorities must be respected in any journey.

In addition a wide range of public buildings, including libraries as well as bars, restaurants, cafeterias, cinemas and theatres will close.

The State of Alarm will last for 15 days.

BREAKING NEWS: Junta raises Coronavirus Alert to Level 2

In a dramatic move. Junta de Andalucia President  Juanma Moreno, called the Crisis Cabinet this afternoon after activating the Andalusian Territorial Emergency Plan and raising the situation due to the coronavirus to a 'level 2' emergency.

It is the first time that the Territorial Emergency Plan has been activated at 'level 2' and also that the Crisis Cabinet of the Junta de Andalucía has met.

The Andalusian Territorial Emergency Plan establishes the response and deployment in situations of serious risk, catastrophe or public calamity and its activation entails the automatic elevation of the situation to 'level 2'. The Crisis Cabinet  chaired by the president, Juanma Moreno, is composed of the vice president, Juan Marín, and the counselors of the Presidency, Public Administration and Interior, Elías Bendodo; Health and Families, Jesús Aguirre, and Finance, Industry and Energy, Juan Bravo.

The Crisis Cabinet has already adopted new decisions to face the evolution of the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic in Andalusia. The activation of the Territorial Plan of Emergencies of Andalusia was communicated at 17:00 to Emergencies 112 by the counselor of the Presidency, Elías Bendodo, after the Government of Spain postponed fthe videoconference of autonomous presidents scheduled for today. Bendodo explained that the Andalusian Government wanted "to wait for the measures announced yesterday by the Government of Spain and for the videoconference of regional presidents to be held, but the epidemic is advancing, contagions are increasing and it is necessary to act without delay."

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Anger grows against madrileños as Marbella prepares for Covid 19 crisis

Marbella Town Hall yesterday announced the cancellation of a series of events and the closure of municipal facilities in response to the continuing coronavirus crisis.

Mayor Ángles Muñoz issued a statement on Friday that the Town Hall was closing Active Participation Centre for the Elderly, municipal nurseries, libraries, sports centres, gyms and swimming pools; postponing events, courses, workshops and activities, as well as cultural, social and neighborhood events. In addition Marbella Town Hall has also suspended street markets and authorisations for barbecues, acts and events on public roads throughout the municipality, as well as local sports competitions and leagues.

With Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez declaring a level one State of Emergency yesterday, in which he urged people to stay at home, public anger has been directed at hundreds of madrileños that have arrived in Marbella.

Rather than see out the 15-day State of Emergency in Madrid, which contains the highest number of coronavirus cases in Spain, thousands headed to holiday homes on the coasts. Murcia has linked 10 of its 13 cases to Madrid, and yesterday former Spanish PM , José María Aznar, was spottedg in a golf buggy close to his villa in Guadalmina with his wife, Ana Botell, ex mayor of Madrid. Social media has been quick to condem the actions of the city dwellers with the hashtag madrilenos irresponsables

Sunday Morning Mutterings - It's all gone viral!

If you didn’t know, an earworm is the term for a song or, more annoyingly, single verse or line from a song, which somehow gets stuck in your subconscious and keeps repeating over and over again.

In the past few days, I have been plagued by a persistent earworm featuring late 70s one-hit-wonders The Knack. But instead of playing the chorus to their sole success “My Sharona”, this particular earworm has subtly altered the lyric. Which means that I now have “Ohhhhh, yeaaaah, My Corona” echoing through the (admittedly cavernous) space in my head where my brain should be.

The first cases of coronavirus were reported in Marbella at the end of February. If you grew up as a child in the 70s, as I did, your previous experience with Corona was probably as a fizzy drink, given to you along with a Matchbox car and a packet of Monster Munch as you waited for the grown ups in the pub car park.

The fact that coronavirus had finally reached Marbella was worthy of a report on my news blog, and I duly wrote a piece, based on a statement from the Junta de Andalucía’s Department of Health. You know. The Junta. The organization that allegedly runs the province we live in.

Once again, social media didn’t let me down. The pick of the comments that came in included “please do not exacerbate this just for the sake of journalism”, “DONT LET THE NEWS HUNGRY PRESS CRIPPLE MARBELLA!” and “‪Great! Now that’s going to panic the whole of the Costa del Sol and others. Tourism is going to suffer, flights will be cancelled and prices will go up, great media panic. Well done! ”.

I like to think that I have a little bit of media clout, but blaming me for any impending financial crisis on the coast is a little churlish.

And then there were the more succinct, Anglo Saxon replies.

“Bollocks” was my favourite.

When something like this hits the headlines a wide variety of social media conspiracies and theories always spring up. “Cocaine kills Coronavirus” was one that caught my eye and enabled me to come up with the following cunning plan to beat the virus.


a) move to Bogota or, failing that, the second line of Banus after midnight.

b) If you think you have been exposed, check into one of Marbella’s five star hotels.

After all, if you do have to be quarantined, you might as well do in in sumptuous luxury daaaaaaarlings!

Keep calm, pass the hand sanitizer and carry on!

Drug Lord Busted at Brothel

The alleged ringleader of a cocaine trafficking group that expected to bank more than £1 million every month has been arrested in Marbella after more than six years on the run.

Dominic McInally, 29, from Formby, Merseyside, was arrested when officers from the Spanish National Police staged a late night raid on the Casa Masa 'alternative club' in Marbella's luxurious Naguelles area.

McInally was a subject of Operation Captura, which targets fugitives suspected to be hiding out among the UK national community in parts of Spain.

Jointly run by the NCA, Crimestoppers UK and Spanish authorities, Operation Captura has now resulted in 85 subjects being apprehended since 2006. Just ten remain at large.

Following his arrest, McInally was taken to Madrid, where extradition proceedings will begin.

He has been wanted by Merseyside Police since January 2014, when officers intercepted a car in Crosby and recovered 6 kilograms of cocaine in a hidden compartment.

Five members of the group allegedly led by McInally were later sentenced to a total of 48 years’ imprisonment.

British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott said:

“The arrest of Dominic McInally would not have been possible without the excellent co-operation between the British and Spanish police forces. It is yet another success under Operation Captura, which has resulted in dozens of fugitives being brought to account, many of them after years on the run in Spain.”

Andy Cooke-Welling, Head of the NCA’s International Crime Bureau, said:

“The arrest of Dominic McInally is the result of years of investigation by the NCA, Merseyside Police and our Spanish partners.

“It should be clear to those attempting to flee from UK justice that they can never rest easy.”

Mick Duthie, Crimestoppers charity Director of Operations, said: “I commend the work of our partners, the National Crime Agency and the Spanish Police, for this latest arrest and would remind people to visit the Crimestoppers website, view those fugitives still on the run and tell our charity where they are.

“We promise that you will remain 100% anonymous. Always. We have kept this promise for over 32 years.”

Casa Masa made the headlines in 2017 when five clients were injured in a 9am shootout in the bar area in what police believe was a gang incident.

Marbella Coronavirus latest. Two cases worked for Marbella bank, while international school takes measures.

Two of the three people reported to be Marbella's first coronavirus cases worked for the same bank

The Junta de Andalucia issued a statement that the two men, aged 42 and 53, had attended a banking conference in Malaga at the end of January. One of the supporting events was a flamenco performance in Marbella, where it is believed that the two men came into contact with people visiting from Asia.

All three patients - the third an 81-year-old woman - are being monitored and treated in isolation at home. All are in a stable condition.

Yesterday Swans School in Sierra Blanca took the step of asking for medical certificates from students that had travelled to high risk areas, including northern Italy and Iran. The private international college is the first to take these measures.

BREAKING NEWS: Three coronavirus cases confirmed in Marbella

Coronavirus has reached Marbella.

The Junta de Andalucia today confirmed three cases of the coronavirus

Two of the victims are males of 42 and 52 years, while the third is an 81-year-old woman. Authorites reportedly believe the latter may have contracted the virus at a Flamenco performance in Marbella that was attended by a couple from Shanghai, while one of the men had contact with an Asian tourist couple.

The Junta reports that all the necessary protocols have been followed with  the patients isolated and monitored in their homes.

It brings the number of cases to 32 throughout Spain.

Malaga coronavirus cases cleared but 1,000 quarentined in Tenerife

Two people admitted to hospital in Malaga have tested negative for the Covid-19 coronavirus.

In a statement issued by the hospital, they said the pair – who were in isolation since being admitted – did not have the virus, but that  they did have a strain of flu.

The news came on the same day that the Ministry of Health held a meeting to discuss the sudden increase in infections in northern Italy, and nearly 1,000 people were quarentined in a Tenerife hotel as an Italian guest tested positive for the Covid-19.

Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, appealed for calm, but said the country needed to be prepared for every eventuality.

The situation in Italy, its proximity to Spain and the numerous ties between both countries have highlighted the threat.

“This changes a lot of things, it’s the beginning of a new period,” said Pere Godoy, president of the Spanish Epidemiology Society. “Until now, the criteria for suspicion were simple: showing symptoms, and having spent time in [the Chinese province of] Hubei. It is now urgent to reformulate these criteria in a precise manner, and that’s going to be complicated because the situation in Italy is changing fast and because of the deep ties between both countries.”