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Spain Initiates a Curfew as COVID-19 Cases Rise

Spanish leaders declared a state of emergency and issued a nationwide curfew in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the declaration, movement is limited between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.—except in the Canary Islands—for the next 15 days. Local authorities also have the ability to implement stricter restrictions on movement and the size of gatherings.

“When the outbreak first began peaking in March, Spain invoked emergency powers to enact one of the world’s strictest lockdowns,” according to The New York Times. “That lockdown was lifted in June, but as cases spiked after the country reopened over the summer, officials reinstated a partial lockdown in swaths of the country, including the capital of Madrid.”

Other European leaders are also issuing warnings about the rising number of COVID-19 cases. A spokesman for Belgium’s COVID-19 crisis centre spoke with The Guardian and said its intensive care units “will be overrun in a fortnight” if current infection rates continue.

In response, Belgian authorities closed sports centers and gyms, extended the half-term school break by three days, and instructed businesses to close by 8:00 p.m. each day.

More than 42.9 million have been infected by the coronavirus across the globe and 1.15 million have died, Reuters reports. The United States—which set a new record over the weekend for daily confirmed cases alongside Russia and France—has the highest number of deaths and infections.

“The seven-day average of new daily cases in the United States has reached a record high of 69,494, according to a Reuters tally, while deaths, hovering around 800 per day, are on an upward trend,” Reuters reports. “At more than 41,500, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients is at a two-month high, straining health care systems in some states.”

Despite the growing number of cases, the Trump administration said that it would not initiate measures to control the spread of the virus itself. Instead, it would focus on treating people who are infected.

“We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics, and other mitigation areas because it is a contagious virus—just like the flu,” said White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in an interview on CNN on Sunday.

Meadows comments came after being pressed in an interview about U.S. President Trump’s plan to address the coronavirus, as well as White House measures to control outbreaks after members of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s staff tested positive for the virus over the weekend. Pence, who was in close proximity with the individuals who tested positive, said he has no plans to self-quarantine.

“The White House has had very loose rules about protecting the workers and leadership,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, in an interview with the Times. “They’ve had one large outbreak, and it was very clear that they didn’t learn from that outbreak and so these are going to continue.”

ASIS International has created a dedicated resources page for security professionals on how to address COVID-19 and the threats it poses, both to worker safety and organizational security. You can find them here.