Spain has ordered all hotels in its territory to close to help stem the spread of coronavirus, under a new measure announced in the state official bulletin on Thursday.
The measure orders “the suspension of opening to the public of all hotels and similar lodgings, tourist accommodation and other short-term accommodation… situated on national territory,” the official notice published in BOE read.
Hotels in Spain, the number-two tourist destination in the world, will close immediately for seven days.
Long-stay accommodation can remain open, providing they have the necessary infrastructure for residents to abide by the conditions of total confinement currently in force in the country.
Spain is the country that has been fourth-hardest hit by COVID-19, with 767 deaths and 17,147 infections.
With over 242,000 infections and nearly 10,000 deaths, the epidemic has stunned the world and drawn comparisons with painful periods such as World War Two, the 2008 financial crisis and the 1918 Spanish flu.
UN chief Antonio Guterres warned that a global recession, “perhaps of record dimensions”, was a near certainty.
“This is a moment that demands coordinated, decisive, and innovative policy action from the world’s leading economies,” Guterres told reporters via a video conference. “We are in an unprecedented situation and the normal rules no longer apply.”
Tourism and airlines have been particularly battered, as the world’s citizens hunker down to minimize contact and curb the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 respiratory illness. But few sectors have been spared by a crisis threatening a lengthy global recession.
The United States is urging Americans not to travel abroad at all and could announce restrictions at the US.-Mexican border on Friday. They would be similar to the closure of the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential traffic.