Spain and France announced drastic, countrywide restrictions on Saturday to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Spain ordered all citizens to confine themselves to their homes — and to leave only to buy food, go to work, seek medical care or assist the elderly and others in need.
Officials in Spain reported 1,500 new cases, the largest daily increase in the country so far, pushing its total to 5,753. The government ordered all schools, restaurants and bars to close, extending measures that various regional authorities, including in Madrid and in Catalonia, had taken on Friday.
Also on Saturday, Spanish authorities said the wife of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Begoña Gómez, had tested positive for the virus.
France announced the closing of all “non-indispensable” businesses as of midnight, including restaurants, bars, and movie theaters, after a sharp uptick in the assault from the coronavirus. French cases doubled over the last 72 hours to about 4,500. There have been 91 deaths, and 300 coronavirus patients are in critical condition — half of them under 50 years of age.
The measures in both countries follow similar moves in Italy, the hardest hit country in Europe. Italy has been locked down since early in the week, with only groceries, pharmacies and banks allowed to operate. On Saturday, the country reported 175 new deaths, with a total of 1,441, and 2,795 new cases, with the total crossing 21,000.