The Orihuela City Council has ordered that red flags be flown informative posters be displayed at all Orihuela Costa Beaches in order to avoid crowding due to the alert caused by the coronavirus pandemic. All the beaches of the Oriolan coast will now fly the red flag, which prohibits bathing, and all accesses have been closed to prevent the gathering of users.
In addition, the council has installed information posters warning of the reasons for the closure and the procedures that are now in place.
In a statement signed by the mayor, Emilio Bascuñana, beaches and bathing areas of Orihuela Costa were closed at 7:00 am on Saturday, March 14, and will remain so for the next fifteen calendar days. The closure prohibits bathing, access and sunbathing on beaches and sandy areas and the use of the facilities that are located there.
In addition, the council has also closes children’s play areas and other public spaces, such as parks, where more people are concentrated in order to avoid a possible spread of coronavirus.
This applies to the city centre Severo Ochoa park and the Glorieta Gabriel Miró parks. All parks will be marked with the appropriate signage.
The Orihuela City Council appeals to the public to be responsible and use common sense, and it is recommended to follow the preventive measures that are being adopted to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.
Torrevieja City Council announced the same measures a couple of hours before the Orihuela statement. It has also closed the municipal tourism office with all tourist information now provided by telephone by the town hall officials on TF: 965 70 34 3
The Foreign Residents Office has closed to the public and all information to international residents will be provided by telephone by area officials who will continue at their jobs. TF: 682 00 93 19 – 965 70 52 43
The Torrevieja City Council has also cut the urban bus service and will restrict the access of users to buses by half.
Many Easter events are now also facing cancellation, the first announcement being made on Friday by the Rojales council which has decided to suspend all acts of Holy Week 2020 in the municipality, which were to be held from April 3 (Friday of Pain) until Easter Sunday, 12th April. No doubt more will follow.
The coronavirus threat is also being exploited by criminals with the arrest by the National Police in Alicante of a 44-year-old man accused of fraud to the value of 726,000 euros for selling face masks to various buyers, including a public company that supplies material to pharmacies and other Administration firms. The fraudsters never delivered the masks and he has now been arrested while 350,000 euros has been seized in his bank account.
However the situation across the Mar Menor seems to have moved to the next stage with movement limited in Los Alcazares, San Pedro, San Javier, Cartagena and Mazarron. Regional president Fernando Lopez Miras said on Friday that members of the public are now only allowed to travel to work, to supermarkets and to pharmacies. The order will remain in force for 14 calendar days.
Meanwhile the Spanish Press have been particularly critical of residents from Madrid, which has over 2000 of the virus and is on virtual lockdown, who have second homes on the Costas and who, despite advice from the Prime Minister and the Spanish Health authorities, have deserted their residences in the Capital and headed for the Costa Blanca, Mar Menor and Costa del Sol.
According to ABC news, one of them is the ex-prime minister Jose Aznar, who has reportedly been spotted arriving to his home in the exclusive San Pedro neighbourhood of Marbella with his wife and the former Madrid mayor Ana Botello.
On Friday afternoon the motorways leaving Madrid saw four kilometres of traffic jams on the A-4, heading towards Andalucia while the M-40 towards Valencia and the Costa Blanca saw tailbacks of at least two kilometres, according to the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT).