This is an article by Guide to Malaga about coronavirus in Malaga with advice on what to do if you’re planning to visit the city or are already here. Note that as of 14 March, Malaga is in lock-down. This has been prolonged until 11 April.
As a frequent traveller myself, I know how important it is to be informed and as a freelance journalist, I know how vital it is to have the right information. It therefore makes sense to share this on Guide to Malaga. The following is therefore a summary of the situation regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) in Malaga. I have used authoritative sources for all information and will be keeping this article up to date because, as we are all aware, this is a volatile situation and changing all the time.
Note that the information in this article is current as of 23 March 2020. Note also that it is no substitute for professional medical advice.
This article is one of the best I have read about coronavirus – it includes some US-based information but the facts are valid for anywhere in the world.
What’s the situation on coronavirus in Malaga?
Malaga has several hundred cases of coronavirus (we have now stopped providing exact figures because it changes too often) and the highest incidence in Andalusia. The province (with a total population of 1.64 million people) currently has a low incidence of the virus. However, things other parts of Spain, particularly Madrid, are extremely serious.
Update on coronavirus in Malaga – since 20 March, the number of new cases in Malaga province has been slowly dropping. This isn’t the case in the rest of Andalusia yet.
Need a bit of Malaga while you can’t visit?
What’s the lockdown situation in Malaga?
Like the rest of Spain, Malaga declared a state of emergency on Saturday 14 March. This will last at least until 11 April. It severely restricts movement of people and closes all practically everything except for supermarkets, banks, essential food shops (e.g. bakers) and newspaper kiosks (so people can buy the paper). All education centres are closed as are bars and restaurants. The city’s parks and beaches are also shut or cordoned off.
Everyone must stay in their home or accommodation. You are only allowed out to buy essential food, go to the bank or visit elderly or sick relatives. Some people are allowed to go to work. If you go out, you may be asked to provide proof of your errand (e.g. a bank slip, supermarket receipt etc). Police are patrolling the streets and fining people who cannot justify their presence outside.
Note that supermarkets are restricting the number of people allowed in at any one time so you may well find a queue (stand at least 1.5m from the person in front of you) outside. Note also that you are only allowed out on your own.
What about in the rest of Spain?
You can see an interactive map of the number of cases per region here. The vast majority of cases are in Madrid (with almost half) and the Basque Country. Madrid is 600km north of Malaga.
Should I cancel my trip to Malaga?
Several countries are advising against all but essential travel to Malaga. Hotels have shut down and airlines have been asked by the Spanish government to reduce flights by 50%. On 23 March, there were no bookable flights to Malaga on Ryanair and Easyjet.
We would advise you to reschedule your travel plans for a few months time when the situation has been controlled. If you can, please don’t cancel altogether – this will pass and Malaga will still be here.
What if I’m in Malaga and need to get home?
Contact your airline to find out the status of your flight and do so quickly (as of 23 March, hardly any flights are still flying in and out of Malaga). Contact your consulate for advice. You are allowed to leave Spain and enter your country of residence.
What about travel insurance?
Taking out travel insurance is always advisable anyway and absolutely essential to arrange in the current situation. Your travel insurance policy should provide health treatment for coronavirus and cover evacuation costs if necessary.
Note that most policies don’t cover you if you choose to travel to an area AFTER a level 3 or 4 travel alert is issued. But if you’re already in an area that receives a travel alert, you have a certain number of days (usually 10) to evacuate and your policy covers you during this period.
Are there preventative measures in place for coronavirus in Malaga?
As well as the lockdown and staying at home, Spain’s health authorities have issued guidelines for individuals to reduce the risk of infection. You’ll may also notice other measures as detailed below:
How to reduce your risk of catching coronavirus
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, including your nails. Take at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday to you twice or see below*).
- Wash your hands as soon as you enter a ‘safe place’ – your home, hotel room or self-catering apartment in Malaga, for example.
- Cover your mouth with your elbow or disposable hankie when you sneeze or cough. Then wash your hands.
- Practise social distancing – stay at least 2m from other people.
- Avoid close contact with anyone with a cough or showing signs of a chest infection.
(*On a lighter note, check out this great Twitter thread started by journalist Jen Monnier with alternative 20-second tunes to sing. Our favourite is the chorus in Jolene 🙂 )
The Spanish traditionally go for effusive greetings – two kisses, firm handshakes and/or embraces. You’ll notice that people are increasing opting to avoid these, preferring air kisses or mimed handshakes instead.
If you’re a church goer and go to mass in Malaga, you’ll notice the following preventive measures against COVID-19:
- No holy water available.
- No rite of peace with the traditional handshake or kiss with the person next to you.
- Hand-to-hand wafer for communion only.
What about food in Malaga?
According to the health authorities, there’s no risk of COVID-19 involved with food in Malaga. You should, however, take the usual precautions such as washing your hands before preparing or eating food and after touching raw meat or fish.
What about touching animals?
Again, there’s no risk of coronavirus in Malaga from touching animals. But, again, wash your hands thoroughly afterwards as you would do anyway.
Is coronavirus seasonal?
In the short time that the coronavirus has been with us, we’ve learnt several important things. They include evidence that the virus may be similar to flu in that it may be seasonal. It looks as if it doesn’t like lots of fresh air, warm temperatures and sunshine. Malaga, of course, has a ton of these 3 and we’re currently enjoying an unusually warm spring. Vitamin sea and sunshine may turn out to be the best antidotes for it!
Where can I get up-to-date information about coronavirus in Spain?
The Spanish Ministry of Health has a dedicated section of its website that is regularly updated. You can access it here (in Spanish only – right -click to read in your language).
The Regional health authorities have similar information about the situation on coronavirus in Andalusia, available here (in Spanish only – right -click to read in your language).
Where can I get information about coronavirus?
If you think you have symptoms, have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus or are in Malaga after travelling in an affected area, call 900 400 061. For general information about coronavirus, call Salud Responde on +34 955 545 060. The helplines are open 24-hours a day and offer information and advice on coronavirus in several languages including English.
If you think you have symptoms, do not go to a health centre or hospital; wait for professional advice.
What about Guide to Malaga?
We’re devastated by what has happened and extremely sad to see Malaga shut down. However, we know this will pass and that Malaga will still be here for everyone who wants to come and enjoy this wonderful city. We’re set up a brand-new section on our website and social media channels – My Malaga At Home – where we’ll be bringing you this wonderful city for as long as you can’t visit Malaga yourself.
Meanwhile, stay safe and most of all, stay at home. This virus knows no boundaries and our best bet is to stay at home and practice social distancing. This applies to everyone regardless of whether you’re on lockdown or not.
We hope to see you in Malaga as soon as it is possible. Rest assured that the city will be ready and waiting for you!
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