British tourists in Spain ignore state of emergency measures despite rise in coronavirus cases

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Stacey Foster

Spain has become the fourth most virus-infected nation in the world, as the coronavirus outbreak worsens in the country, despite strict new measures to try and limit the spread.

At least 297 people have died in Spain as a result of Covid-19, with more than 7,700 confirmed cases of the virus.

Though a two-week state of emergency has been declared across the country, footage of Britons in Benidorm show tourists continuing to meet and socialise - ignoring strict new measures to try and contain the virus.

Spain has now implemented a national lockdown - similar to the one already imposed in Italy - with people only allowed to leave their homes to buy food and medicine, commute to work, go to hospitals and banks, or take trips to care for the young and elderly.

All schools and universities in the country closed, along with restaurants, bars, hotels and other non-essential retail businesses.

Despite the measures, footage from popular tourist destination Benidorm shows a number of holidaymakers - mostly Britons - meeting in public spaces.

Local police in the area were filmed asking those breaking the new regulations to return to their hotels and accommodation.

A man applauds medical staff from his balcony as Spain introduces strict new measures to control the coronavirus outbreak. Credit: AP

Members of the European Union are expected to discuss closing Spain's borders on Monday. The measure is being considered as a "real possibility" according

It comes as the World Health Organisation warned Europe has overtaken China as the new epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. The governments of Italy, France, Germany, and the UK look set to introduce increasingly strict measures in a bid to control the outbreak.

On Saturday, Spain's government said Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's wife - Begona Gomez - tested positive for Covid-19, both are in good health the government said.

For most people, the new COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms but for some it can cause more severe illness.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know:

A police officer asks two women to leave the area in Barcelona, Spain. Credit: AP

Over the weekend, footage emerged of house-bound Italians and Spanish residents taking to their balconies and windows to applaud medical staff working through the crisis.

Elsewhere, one neighbourhood in Florence awoke to a rendition of Puccini’s famous Nessun Dorma aria as a local opera singer performed from his balcony.