Spain goes into lockdown as first lady tests positive for coronavirus

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(CNN) – The few people still walking in Madrid’s eerily empty parks on Monday were met by buzzing drones overhead, instructing them to: “Go home!”

The Spanish capital, like the rest of the country, is now on partial lockdown in an attempt to stem the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe after Italy.

Spain’s recorded cases of the virus surged by 1,400 overnight, to a total of 9,190, with 309 deaths, its Health Ministry said. Meanwhile Italy has over 24,000 cases and more than 1,800 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Some 47 million Spanish residents have been banned from leaving their homes — with the exception of those going to work, buying food, going to a hospital, or supporting an elderly person or child in their care.

Priests in the deeply Catholic country are celebrating Mass alone, with services shown only on TV or via social media. Restaurants and bars have been closed. And cultural sites like the Prado Museum and Royal Palace in Madrid are also shut, as part of the tough measures announced by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday.

The same day, the government announced that the prime minister’s wife, Maria Begona Gomez Fernandez, had tested positive for the virus. The couple are both “well” and following preventative measures at their official residence, La Moncloa Palace in Madrid, the statement added.

The border between Spain and Portugal will close Monday after a joint decision between the countries, Portugal’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, said at a press conference.

Cabrita said nine crossings would remain open, to allow for the transit of products and workers required to cross the border.

Spain’s 15-day state of emergency comes after school closures were announced last week.

Tougher measures are expected to follow after the health ministry identified a 25% daily increase in the number of cases, its emergencies coordinator, Fernando Simon, said Monday.

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