12 Mar 2020
Kindergartens, schools and universities in the Madrid region will close for two weeks from Wednesday 11th, as a precaution against coronavirus, officials announced on Monday, as the disease spread further.
This would send 1.2 million pupils’ home as Spain takes measures to follow Italy’s lead in efforts to try to delay the spread of the virus. Twenty-eight people have died in Spain due to the coronavirus, with positive cases increasing to 1,204 – bringing Spain to one of the highest in Europe, apart from Italy.
Head of the region of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso told a news conference on Monday “It was not an easy decision to make, but public health must come first.”
The shutdown includes nurseries and vocational training centers as well as primary and secondary schools and universities. Ayuso went on to advise the elderly and people with chronic illnesses to stay at home.
“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,” Health Minister Salvador Illa announced during another news conference.
Schools and universities in the Basque capital Vitoria will also close for two weeks, sending tens of thousands of pupils’ home. This will affect approx. 63,000 students.
Prime Minister Pedro 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, such as tourism, but that it expected the economic impact of the virus to be temporary and limited. A regular update has been promised. However, as it stands today - the closures will take place as directed for the period that has already been agreed upon.