(CNN) — The few people still walking in Madrid’s eerily empty parks on Monday were met by buzzing drones overhead, instructing them to: “Go home!”
The Spanish capital, like the rest of the country, is now on partial lockdown in an attempt to stem the worst coronavirus outbreak in Europe after Italy.
Spain’s recorded cases of the virus surged by 1,400 overnight, to a total of 9,190, with 309 deaths, its Health Ministry said. Meanwhile Italy has over 24,000 cases and more than 1,800 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
Some 47 million Spanish residents have been banned from leaving their homes — with the exception of those going to work, buying food, going to a hospital, or supporting an elderly person or child in their care.
Priests in the deeply Catholic country are celebrating Mass alone, with services shown only on TV or via social media. Restaurants and bars have been closed. And cultural sites like the Prado Museum and Royal Palace in Madrid are also shut, as part of the tough measures announced by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday.
The same day, the government announced that the prime minister’s wife, Maria Begona Gomez Fernandez, had tested positive for the virus. The couple are both “well” and following preventative measures at their official residence, La Moncloa Palace in Madrid, the statement added.
The border between Spain and Portugal will close Monday after a joint decision between the countries, Portugal’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, said at a press conference.
Cabrita said nine crossings would remain open, to allow for the transit of products and workers required to cross the border.
Spain’s 15-day state of emergency comes after school closures were announced last week.
Tougher measures are expected to follow after the health ministry identified a 25% daily increase in the number of cases, its emergencies coordinator, Fernando Simon, said Monday.
Silent stations and supermarkets
Around half of the cases reported in the country so far have been in Madrid, where the region’s president, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, has also tested positive for the virus, officials said.
Streets and metro stations in the capital remain all but empty. Madrid’s Metro posted CCTV images of deserted platforms Monday morning, adding that it had seen 75% fewer commuters than during rush hour last week.
Supermarkets are similarly silent, with cashiers changing their gloves and disinfecting conveyor belts after every customer, CNN reporters found.
In one central supermarket, markings were taped on the ground in an effort to stop people standing too close to one another.
“Most Spaniards are compliant” with the restrictions, one police officer patrolling the streets of Madrid told CNN. “Though they are taking far too much time to walk the dog or shop for food,” he said, adding that this was “a trick” to stay outside for longer.
To get people off the streets, police can issue fines starting at $100. But the officer admitted that “fines won’t solve this.”
“We all have to do this in solidarity, knowing that everyone is staying at home,” he said.
Some hotels have offered up their beds to help ease the strain on hospitals. On Monday, the country’s Parachute Brigade delivered 45 hotel beds in army trucks to Alcalá de Henares in Madrid.
Elsewhere, high-profile budget airlines Ryanair and Easyjet announced on Sunday they would be canceling and reducing flights to and from Spain.
The previous day, at least five Jet2 flights from the United Kingdom to Malaga and Alicante in Spain turned around in mid-air over coronavirus fears.