Police in Benidorm had run-ins with Brits as they tried to disperse large groups who had spent much of the day drinking take-away alcohol on the streets.
Officers armed with batons had to break up one group at around 3pm on Saturday afternoon.
Reinforcement arrived as two local police officers struggled to get them to vacate the area. One could be seen using force to push several people away as a colleague dealt with others who appeared to be resisting attempts to move them on. Police sirens sounded in the background.
A couple of hours later police had to deal with another large group of Brits who were drinking out of one-litre lager bottles and cans near the same spot outside the Trebol Apartments in Benidorm’s Levante Beach area.
Police in Benidorm had run-ins with Brits as they tried to disperse large groups who had spent much of the day drinking take-away alcohol on the streets
Reinforcement arrived as two local police officers struggled to get them to vacate the area. One could be seen using force to push several people away as a colleague dealt with others who appeared to be resisting attempts to move them on. Police sirens sounded in the background
A couple of hours later police had to deal with another large group of Brits who were drinking out of one-litre lager bottles and cans near the same spot outside the Trebol Apartments in Benidorm’s Levante Beach area
One Brit could be overheard telling a police officer: ‘We’re not causing any trouble, we’re just walking away.’
The incident comes as Spain will be put under a nation-wide lockdown as part of desperate measures to tackle the outbreak of deadly coronavirus as cases soar by a third overnight to 5,753.
This is the second European nation to put extreme measures in place after Italy – the worst affected country outside China with more than 17,000 cases of the killer bug and 1,000 deaths – was quarantined this week.
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Spain soared by more than 1,500 in 24 hours and more than 120 people have died.
There are 3,000 new diagnoses in the capital Madrid alone as health authorities stopped testing people with only mild symptoms in the city.
Under new rules – which were released just one day after the Spanish government announced a 15-day state of emergency – people will only be allowed to leave home in Spain under certain ’emergency’ conditions.
‘Emergency’ conditions involve going to buy food and pharmaceutical products, getting to work and returning home, going to hospitals and returning to their normal places of residence.
MailOnline is awaiting clarification from the Foreign Office on what the new measures will mean for British nationals already in the country, although it is unlikely Britons will be prevented from leaving, as was the case when Italy was quarantined last week.
Meanwhile British airline Jet2 made the decision to cancel all of its flights to Spain and apparently turned back flights in midair.
The company said it decided to cancel the flights as Spanish authorities moved to introduce tighter restrictions. ‘We know these local measures will have a significant impact on our customers’ holidays which is why we have taken this decision.’
Air traffic monitor Flightradar 24 said at least seven Jet2 flights with a destination in Spain turned around and came back to the U.K on Saturday.
Spain will be put under a nation-wide lockdown as part of desperate measures to tackle the outbreak of deadly coronavirus as cases soar by a third overnight to 5,753. Pictured: Restaurant terraces remain closed at the usually-busy Plaza Mayor
Queues of trolleys wait to be allowed into a supermarket in Irun near San Sebastian after the Spanish government declared a state of emergency yesterday
Tourists gather at a bus station – with services towards the airport – today as panic about the outbreak of deadly coronavirus intensifies
Under emergency measures, beaches are being closed along the two most famous strips of coastline – the Costa Blanca which covers resorts like Benidorm and the Costa del Sol
A Spanish police officer had to tell an eager beach goer to pick up his towel and go after the country shut down beaches in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus
Worried residents queued up outside a supermarket in Irun near San Sebastian, Spain, after the Spanish government declared a state of emergency
Winding queues stretched along the outside of a supermarket in Spain after the Spanish government declared a state of emergency in the country
A street artist sits in Plaza Mayor in central Madrid. The popular location is usually over-crowded with tourists but there are barely any today
A food delivery driver cycles along nearly-deserted streets in Milan, Italy, after the Italian government announced measures to slow the spread of deadly coronavirus
People queue up outside a supermarket at the Porta Nuova business center in Milan, Italy, after the government announced drastic measures to slow the spread of coronavirus
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is said to be preparing to shut down the country’s airspace as part of far-reaching power granted by the State of Alarm issued yesterday, according to local media reports.
The exceptional measures enable the government to restrict peoples’ movement and could give them the power to limit flights into and out of the country.
It comes as tourists in the Spanish Costas were today warned not to ‘act as if you’re on holiday’ as the country remains gripped by the deadly bug.
Several planes flying from the UK to Spain turned around mid-flight and are heading back to Britain one day after the Spanish government announced a 15-day state of emergency
People queue at the entrance to a supermarket – under the supervision of local police – in Vilanova del Cami, Catalonia, Spain, after a state of emergency was announced
Jet2 released a statement telling their customers about the cancellations. Jet2 did not say why the planes turned around mid-flight, rather than not take off in the first place
Politicians in some of Spain’s top resorts are demanding new arrivals show responsibility to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Beaches are being closed along the Costa Blanca which covers resorts such as Benidorm and the Costa del Sol.
The bathing ban is coming into force on the back of the forced closure at midnight last night of all bars, nightclubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms and cinemas in the Costa Blanca resorts as well as the rest of Alicante and the neighbouring provinces of Castellon and Valencia.
Top politicians in Spain’s southern Andalucia region have already warned they are working on plans to stop people travelling and make them stay indoors unless they need to leave for work or to buy food or medicine.
A red flag warning tourists away from beaches in Fuengirola waves as the sand in the popular holiday destination looks eerily deserted
Panicked shoppers in Barcelona frantically stocked up on supplies after the government declared the entire country was under a state of emergency
Usually-packed areas in Fuengirola were left eerily quiet after the announcement yesterday. A man can be seen walking along the pavement in a protective face mask
Local police drove around the Costa Blanca resort of Torrevieja yesterday asking people who had arrived from elsewhere to ‘stay indoors.’
Town hall officials in nearby Pilar de la Horadada – home to thousands of British expats and a popular holiday destination 40 miles south of Alicante – said: ‘If you have come to Pilar de la Horadada to enjoy its beaches, magnificent food and fabulous open spaces, we ask you to stay inside until the coronavirus crisis has passed.’
What is herd immunity?
Herd immunity is a situation in which a population of people is protected from a disease because so many of them are unaffected by it that it cannot spread.
To cause an outbreak a disease-causing bacteria or virus must have a continuous supply of potential victims who are not immune to it.
Immunity is when your body knows exactly how to fight off a certain type of infection because it has encountered it before, either by having the illness in the past or through a vaccine.
When a virus or bacteria enters the body the immune system creates substances called antibodies, which are designed to destroy one specific type of bug.
When these have been created once, some of them remain in the body and the body also remembers how to make them again. This provides long-term protection, or immunity, against an illness.
If nobody is immune to an illness – as was the case at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak – it can spread like wildfire.
However, if, for example, half of people have developed immunity – from a past infection or a vaccine – there are only half as many people the illness can spread to.
As more and more people become immune the bug finds it harder and harder to spread until its pool of victims becomes so small it can no longer spread at all.
The threshold for herd immunity is different for various illnesses, depending on how contagious they are – for measles, around 95 per cent of people must be vaccinated to it spreading.
For polio, which is less contagious, the threshold is about 80-85 per cent, according to the Oxford Vaccine Group.
A Jet2 spokesperson said: ‘In response to local measures introduced throughout Spain to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the closure of bars, restaurants, shops and activities including any water sports, we have taken the decision to cancel all flights to Mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands with immediate effect.
‘We know these local measures will have a significant impact on our customers’ holidays, which is why we have taken this decision.
‘We are contacting our customers who are currently in these destinations, and who are due to travel, to advise them of their options, so we urge customers not to call us.
‘This is a fast-moving and complex situation and we are reviewing our programme as a matter of urgency, so that we can fly customers back to the UK.
‘The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority, and we would like to thank our customers for their understanding.’
Travellers quickly took to social media to share their thoughts on the sudden cancellations with some praising the airline for ‘keeping their customers safe’.
One holidaymaker bemoaned the decision, saying that ‘everything is open and fine’ but the flights to Lanzarote were cancelled anyway.
Budget airline EasyJet said their flights will run as normal – but they are seeing some disruption due to a shortage of air traffic controllers in Spain.
A spokesperson said: ‘Due to shortage of air traffic controllers in Spain we expect some disruption to our flying programme today.
‘We advise customers due to fly with us to or from Spain today to check the status of their flights on our Flight Tracker page. The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is our highest priority.
‘Whilst these circumstances are outside of our control, we apologise for any inconvenience caused and would like to reassure customers that we are doing everything possible to minimise the disruption.’
Tourists in Fuengirola woke up today to find the red flag had been hoisted over the resort’s main beach.
The streets of Madrid were left eerily deserted yesterday as the government declared a state of emergency to battle the outbreak of deadly coronavirus
Tourists in the Spanish Costas have been warned not to ‘act as if you’re on holiday’ as the country remains gripped by a coronavirus health crisis which has seen bars and restaurants made to close (pictured in Barcelona, Spain)
Normally-bustling streets in Pamplona remained deserted as bars, restaurants and clubs were made to shut at midnight last night
The council said in a statement: ‘Due to the imminent announcement of the State of Alarm, Fuengirola Town Hall has decided to close its beaches to the public from today.
‘We ask people to respect this restriction, which will be signalled with a red flag along the city’s coastline. Sorry for any inconvenience.’
The State of Alarm enables police to restrict peoples’ movement nationwide and could lead to the closure of ports, airports and the train network
A children’s play area on the sand was cordoned off with tape alongside a message which said: ‘Due to the emergency situation caused by the spread of Covid-19, Fuengirola Town Hall has decided to temporarily close all its children’s parks and play areas and ban the use of all the swings that are in open play areas.’
The Costa del Sol beach ban is also in force on the Costa Blanca, with red flags going up in places like Benidorm, Alicante, Finestrat and Vilajoyosa.
Finestrat Town Hall, which has ordered police to cordon off its beach to stop people from even stepping on the sand, said in a statement: ‘Our recommendation is to stay indoors. To avoid concentrations of people, we are closing the beach. Thanks for your cooperation.’
Coronavirus has infected more than 5,000 people and caused 120 deaths in Spain alone. Pictured: Revellers have one last drink before the bar closed at midnight last night
Politicians in some of Spain’s top resorts have demanded that new arrivals show responsibility to slow the spread of the deadly disease. Pictured: A bar tender puts up a sign informing customers that the bar is closed
Top politicians in Spain’s southern Andalucia region have already warned they are working on plans to stop people travelling and make them stay indoors unless they need to leave for work or to buy food or medicine. Pictured: A woman wears a mask in a market in Pamplona, northern Spain
Britons laugh off coronavirus crisis in Benidorm by guzzling alcohol on the beach after bars shut
Britons in Benidorm laughed off government-imposed bar curfew in Spain by guzzling down beer by the beach and stocking up trolleys with alcohol last night.
One smiling tourist risked the wrath of expats and locals by holding up a pack of Corona lager as his shirtless pals downed drinks beside him.
Their show of defiance followed pleas by Spanish politicians to stay indoors yesterday ahead of a national ban due to come into force allowing people to leave their homes or hotels only under certain ’emergency’ conditions.
Britons in Benidorm laughed off government-imposed bar curfew in Spain by guzzling down beer by the beach and stocking up trolleys with alcohol last night
Police in Benidorm have yet to make any official announcement on how they will deal with British tourists who insist on continuing to make supermarket booze runs and filling up trolleys with alcohol only.
But they are expected to try and put a stop to the practice on the basis the products are not essential items under the terms of the State of Alarm Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez said yesterday he would bring into force.
Karen Maling Cowles, president of the Benidorm British Business Association, said today she was ‘saddened’ and ‘sickened’ by the scenes.
Police in Benidorm have yet to make any official announcement on how they will deal with British tourists who insist on continuing to make supermarket booze runs and filling up trolleys with alcohol only
The expat, who had decided to self-isolate ahead of the government home confinement order and posted photos of exhausted frontline Spanish nurses on social media, said: ‘We are in a crisis and people need to take this seriously.
‘Sadly it’s those who aren’t taking this seriously who will prolong this problem.
‘While everybody’s out they could be infecting each other.
‘It’s the minority of people who are in holiday mode who are forgetting what’s around on around them and it’s really sad.
‘I just can’t understand why they are acting the way they are.
‘They have to realise this can’t be a holiday for them because this is a health emergency.’
The scenes of British holidaymakers packing the seafront in Benidorm, despite red flags banning bathing, led to calls from angry expats and locals for them to be sent back home on the first planes available.
One said: ‘I hope that all the British who are currently partying in Benidorm don’t get any type of health assistance when they fall ill in our country.’
British holidaymakers descended on the seafront in Benidorm, despite red flags banning bathing
Another added: ‘I hope the first measure implemented as part of the State of Alarm is the immediate expulsion of these Brits.’
Miriam Gonzalez tweeted: ‘Tell the Brits in Benidorm the Spanish are staying indoors.
‘They are being irresponsible by carrying on as if nothing was happening, they give British people a bad name.’
Benidorm-based doctor Maria Diaz Gomez posted footage of tourists downing lager in packed bars in the resort’s Little England area ahead of last night’s (FRI) midnight lockdown banning them from opening for two weeks.
She said: ‘We are on call in Benidorm. Live. Thousand of foreigners ignoring measures to contain the pandemic. How slowly the clock advances towards midnight.’
She added: ‘In a society of ‘Me’ and ‘Now’, it’s all we can expect.’
Benidorm tourism portal Turismo de Benidorm said in a tweet alongside a Union Jack flag: ‘At these hard times the VisitBenidorm team stands by your side.
‘Stay calm, stayHome, stay safe and let our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter entertain you. We love you all dearly.’
The refusal of many people to heed officials’ recommendations to stay at home and stop the spread of coronavirus, sparked the anger of many full-time Costa residents.
Much of it was directed at people from Madrid and the Basque Country who have second homes in areas like the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol and decamped to the coast to escape the coronavirus crisis which hit worse there earlier.
Former Spanish PM Jose Maria Aznar and his wife Ana Botella, who have left the Spanish capital for their mansion near Marbella, have come in for criticism on social media.
One angry Spaniard branded them ‘bad citizens’ and ‘toxic.’
And ANC England, a UK-based pro Catalan-independence movement, used the coronavirus to make its own political attack by claiming: ‘Spain is a failed state which has allowed mass spreading of coronavirus with thousands leaving Madrid including former PM Aznar quitting to his Marbella mansion, triggering confinements and barricades across Spain.
But British holidaymakers also came in for criticism over the way they have reacted to the crisis.
Benidorm-based doctor Maria Diaz Gomez posted footage of tourists downing lager in packed bars in the resort’s Little England area ahead of last night’s midnight lockdown banning them from opening for two weeks.
She said: ‘We are on call in Benidorm. Live. Thousand of foreigners ignoring measures to contain the pandemic. How slowly the clock advances towards midnight.’
She added: ‘In a society of ‘Me’ and ‘Now’, it’s all we can expect.’
Another angry Spaniard, raging against the Brits packing out Gerona Street in the heart of the Little England area, added: ‘Benidorm. Ground zero. Gerona Street. Full of d***heads.’
But another replied: ‘There are thousands of foreigners because many Spaniards opened their bars.
‘I’m all for responsibility, but from everyone.’
There were no immediate reports of any violent incidents or arrests last night linked to the forced closure of bars in places like Benidorm, or in resorts in Majorca and Ibiza.
There, nightclubs were told to shut and the larger bars and restaurants ordered to limit the number of people they let in.
Police were out in force in the Little England area to ensure nightspots obeyed the lockdown order.
Bolton-born expat Lyndsey Leech said: ‘Everyone’s complaining about the English who wanted to stay outside and drink, but they forget that it’s the fault of people from Madrid that we’re all indoors now.’
Peter Wharton, who is due to fly to Benidorm later today, said: ‘We are due to fly with Jet2 to Benidorm this afternoon.
‘The resort is in lockdown, bars are closed and our hotel advise against travel.
‘Yet Jet2 continue to fly people because the Foreign Office have not advised against travel.’
And John Williams raged at Ryanair: ‘Benidorm have closed all bars and restaurants, yet you have not cancelled your flights to Alicante.
‘The Spanish see fit to shut the place because of the risk yet you’re quite happy to take our money and continue to fly there.
‘Do the right thing.’
The Balearic Islands president Francina Armengol has asked Pedro Sanchez to restrict as much as possible the numbers of flights to and from the holiday destination.
Spanish authorities yesterday implemented a curfew across Catalonia.
Mr Sanchez’s leftwing government took few steps at first to impose tough measures and changed tack only this week as numbers soared.
The opposition has criticised the government for letting events like International Women’s Day marches go ahead a week ago.
Pablo Casado, the leader of the conservative opposition People’s Party said on Friday said: ‘In the past few weeks, serious negligence has been committed by the government, such as encouraging a massive demonstration with hundreds of thousands of people last Sunday.’
National and regional authorities have said they reacted appropriately, taking stronger measures when the number of cases started soaring on Monday.
With schools now shut across the country and a first package of economic measures announced on Thursday, the government met – via videoconference – on Saturday to prepare a new package of economic and social measures.
In an increasingly deserted capital city, where all shops except supermarkets and pharmacies shut down, posters put up by the city authorities read: ‘The best option to prevent the propagation of the virus is to stay at home.’
On public radio, official messages told people to wash their hands, use disposable tissues and avoid all but essential travel.
Travellers quickly took to social media to share their thoughts on the sudden cancellations with some praising the airline for ‘keeping their customers safe’
Spanish authorities have implemented a curfew across Catalonia as Spain declares a state of emergency due to coronavirus
Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida said in an interview with El Pais newspaper that a lockdown of Madrid was ‘closer than we think’.
Madrid’s nightlife ground to a halt on Friday evening, as businesses closed their shutters in time for the region-wide closures, which came into force at midnight.
‘We hope that the government will also fulfill its mission to keep businesses from collapsing, to take the necessary economic measures so that we can move forward,’ said Ignacio Madrano, who has owned La Catrina bar for 20 years.
The President of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, ordered the total closure of Catalonia to stop the spread of the virus yesterday. As of midnight, no one was be able to enter or leave the region of 7.5million inhabitants.
Catalonia encompasses the provinces of Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona, and Lleida.
‘The evolution of contagion requires us to be more drastic,’ said Mr Torra, who appeared at 8.30pm at the Palau de la Generalitat to announce this new measure to combat coronavirus.
No one is able to enter or leave Catalonia – the region of 7.5million inhabitants – including Barcelona, where 509 people have been infected
British holidaymakers watching Cheltenham races poolside after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called a ‘state of emergency’
He added: ‘We are ready to confine the country.
‘We have responded to other great challenges. But we need the collaboration of the state in structures that are not our competence: ports, airports and the railway system.’
Meanwhile, regional government chiefs are issuing an emergency order limiting freedom of movement in seven coastal municipalities for the next fortnight.
The order is set to lead to the closure of discos, bars and restaurants.
Closures in resorts like Benidorm, as well as other holiday hotspots along the Costa Blanca, came into effect at midnight.
The order covers the whole of the Valencian community which includes the provinces of Castellon, Valencia and Alicante.
Benidorm is part of the province of Alicante.
A statement from the regional government released yesterday said: ‘The closure of bars and restaurants, shows and public and private sports centres comes into effect from midnight tonight.’
Karen Maling Cowles, president of the Benidorm British Business Association, said yesterday afternoon the word was still getting round to owners of bars and other nightspots in the famous resort that they would have to close at midnight and remain shut for the next fortnight.
She said: ‘The regional government order doesn’t covers things like chemists and garages but it covers cafes, restaurants, bars and other businesses like gyms, basically all places where you get people congregating for leisure reasons.
‘It’s all happened very suddenly and I think it’s hit people in the face very suddenly.
Pictured: Tourists lunching in Benidorm, just before Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez declared a ‘State of Emergency’
Pictured: Tourists wander through the streets of Benidorm just moments before the Spanish government announced a ‘state of emergency’
‘Everywhere in Spain is going to be in the same situation very shortly.
‘I’m telling people we’re all going to be in the same boat and we can rebuild ourselves.
‘It’s important to stick together and not fight or bicker but help each other as much as we can.
‘I am concerned for young people who are living here day to day, people who don’t have contacts that depend on their money.
‘They’re my concern in terms of the local community.
Pictured: Areas along the Costa del Sol where clubs, pubs, discos and restaurants are shut as emergency measures are put in place up and down the country
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announces the state of emergency for 15 days due to the coronavirus outbreak in Madrid, Spain
‘And in terms of the holidaymakers, there’s going to be a lot of people who are twiddling their thumbs tonight.
‘Lock-ins are banned and bars who organise them will be fined.
‘People are still receiving the message now about the closure and I am taking calls from people wanting to check if it affects them.
‘The word is still getting around because it’s happening so fast. It’s really hitting people in the face today.’
She added: ‘I would urge holidaymakers who are out and about tonight to respect the closure orders when they come in.
‘The police are going to enforce them. I am sure people will understand this is a public order emergency and cooperate with what the authorities are telling them they must do.’
Bars in Benidorm were busy this afternoon ahead of the closure order coming into effect.
Tourist Mike Jarman, from Birmingham, on his way to meet friends for a boozy afternoon, said: ‘I’m on the second day of my holiday.
‘It was meant to be a week of fun away with some mates but this is going to change everything.
‘If I had known it was going to be this bad I would never have come.’
Police checkpoints are now due to be set up to stop the free movement of people into or out of the lockdown areas, which include the municipality of San Javier covering La Manga.
No-one was immediately available for comment at one of the best-known resorts in the area, the La Manga Club Resort, to explain the order’s practical effects for British tourists already staying there and those scheduled to check in.
Murcia’s regional government announced the measure yesterday after the massive arrival of Spaniards from higher risk areas include Madrid.
It came after Glamorgan announced it had called off their pre-season tour of La Manga because of the coronavirus crisis. They were scheduled to fly out on March 19.
Four towns in the province of Barcelona were placed on lockdown on Thursday night.
A man wearing a face mask as a precaution against coronavirus passes by Royal Palace of Madrid, Spain
It is the second time the state of emergency has been enforced in Spain.
The first time was in 2010, with the air traffic controller crisis.
Sánchez said the order was for 15 days. He has asked the whole of Spain to follow expert to stop the virus from spreading.
‘The heroism is about washing one’s hands and staying at home. It will take weeks, it will be difficult and but we will overcome this emergency,’ he said.
A couple, wearing protective face masks, walk through an unusually empty Plaza Mayor square due to the coronavirus outbreak in central Madrid, Spain
Pictured: Tito’s in Mallorca, one of the most visited clubs on the island, announced its temporary closure as the outbreak of coronavirus in Spain intensified
Red Cross members demonstrate hygiene measures in Madrid where Britons have now been advised to avoid travelling unless necessary because of coronavirus
Groom Rafael (centre, right) and bride Miki (left), both protected with face masks, leave a civil registry after getting married in Madrid, Spain
A worker shuts the doors of the stunning medieval cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, after drastic measures were introduced to slow the spread of the killer bug
Pilgrims wearing face masks lift up their backpacks after finishing their pilgrimage on the Way of St James at the Praza do Obradoiro square in Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain. The stunning medieval cathedral of Santiago has been closed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
An elderly woman wears a protective face mask as she carries a bag with food products, amidst concerns over Spain’s coronavirus outbreak, in Barcelona
People wearing face masks as a precaution against coronavirus were seen at Plaza Mayor Square in Madrid, Spain, which remained quieter than usual
Tourists are seen as the closure of the Alhambra was announced due to coronavirus in Granada, Spain, yesterday
Catalan police officers stop a car trying to get into Igualada, one of four towns closed down by regional authorities, at a checkpoint near Barcelona yesterday