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Spain Turns Back Cars From Land Borders as Coronavirus Death Toll Nears 500

Spain set up police checks at its land borders with France and Portugal on March 17 and turned back foreigners attempting to enter, part of strict measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Europes second hardest-hit country.

The government reported 182 new fatalities overnight, bringing the total number to 491 and making Spain the country with the worlds fastest-rising death toll after Italy. The number of infected topped 10,000 for the first time to 11,178.

Spain shut its land borders on Monday to all but Spaniards, permanent residents, and trans-border workers. Trade in goods is not affected. The Balearic Islands—among Europes most popular holiday destinations—closed its air space to visitors.

Cars queued to get into Spain at Vilar Formoso in Portugal as Spanish police wearing protective face masks and latex gloves checked identities and turned back vehicles carrying passengers without permission to enter.

Joaquim Silva, a Portuguese man, wanted to drive through Spain to get back to France, where he has lived for more than 50 years.

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Florists wearing face masks pose for a portrait at Chiado in Lisbon, Portugal, on March 14, 2020. (Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP via Getty Images)

“Its terrible because we live there (in France), we have family there, we have health problems that are being treated there,” he said. “Here in Portugal we do not even have a family doctor.”

Governments across Europe have taken draconian measures to slow the pandemic, shutting borders, closing schools, shops, restaurants, and ordering citizens to stay at home.

Spains 47 million people have been under partial lockdown since Saturday night, allowed to leave their homes only to go to work, buy food, or visit a pharmacy or hospital.

Spain plans to pay benefits to workers temporarily laid off, part of measures to mitigate the economic effects of the coronavirus epidemic, according to a government draftRead More – Source

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