Spain is now closed to foreigners by land. The announcement was made this afternoon from the Palacio de La Moncloa by the Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who said that in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic the central government has decreed the closure of the country’s land borders.

The minister said that only Spaniards, those who are residents of Spain, border workers or those with just cause or diplomatic activity will be able to access the country.

That of course means non residents who choose to leave, or who have already left the country, for a trip or a holiday back home, to Ireland or to the UK, will not be allowed to return to Spain br road until the measure is lifted.

The transport of goods will still be allowed to guarantee economic activity including the supply of goods from abroad. The measure will be in force from 00.00 on Tuesday and until the end of the state of alarm, with an initial duration of 15 days, renewable by the Congress of Deputies.

When asked by the press, the minister said that he had not ruled out the possibility of also closing maritime and air borders at some time in the future, although everything will depend on the evolution of the pandemic.

Marlaska unveiled the new powers that he gained on Saturday with the decree of the state of emergency approved by the Council of Ministers.

The text published in the Official State Gazette (BOE) states that “the Minister of the Interior may choose to close the roads or sections of them for reasons of public health, safety or fluidity of traffic or to restrict access of certain vehicles for the same reasons.”

The move comes at a time when the EU is considering imposing border closures and a ban on non-essential travel. The measure was notified in a videoconference with the rest of the Interior and Health ministers.