Portugal is suspending rail and air traffic to and from Spain for a month, while Madrid is denying entry to everyone bar residents and a few others on land borders, in a bid to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The authorities in Lisbon said that the temporary halt to all air and rail traffic with Spain will go into effect at 2300 GMT on Monday and last through April 15. Portugal has just recorded its first death from the Covid-19 coronavirus, reportedly a 80-year-old man. There are fewer than 200 confirmed cases in the country as of Monday.
Spain has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with only China, Iran and Italy registering more cases. There have been just over 9,400 cases of covid-19 so far, with 309 confirmed fatalities.
As the deadly coronavirus continues to spread, Madrid has ordered a lockdown of its land borders, only allowing entry to Spanish nationals, residents, cross-border workers and people with justified emergencies, according to the country’s interior minister.
The two EU members are taking steps to tighten border controls even as the bloc itself is “proposing” a temporary lockdown. A 30-day ban on non-essential travel into the EU is on the table, but will require the approval of member state leaders, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday.
Once in effect, it can be extended “as necessary” past the initial 30-day period. The plan is supposed to be finalized on Tuesday.
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