Spain became the second European country after Italy to impose nationwide lockdown due to coronavirus fears and it came less than a week after Italy announced its lockdown on March 9. The lockdown will be in place for 15 days and could be extended if necessary. The government has shut down all the businesses, large gatherings and religious services are banned. Residents can only leave home for basic food and medical appointments.

Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez tweeted, "The State of Alarm will affect the entire national territory for 15 days. Starting today, the Competent Authority throughout the territory will be the Government of Spain. The RD will be published in the BOE tonight and will take effect with immediate effect. #EsteVirusLoParamosUnidos # Covid19."

On Saturday it was observed that cases of coronavirus in Spain jumped by 35 percent. That is more than 1,500 cases within 24 hours leading the total number confirmed cases to 6,391 with 196 deaths so far.

Spanish Prime Minister's wife tested positive

Coronavirus
Workers make face masks at the workshop of a company in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Jan. 28, 2020. To help fight the outbreak of pneumonia caused by novel coronavirus, workers of local medical material companies in Hubei Province rushed back to work to make protective masks, clothing and other protective equipment to guarantee the supplies. (Xinhua/Cai YangIANS) Xinhua/IANS

The Spanish government also announced that Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's wife Begona Gomez has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Meanwhile, two other ministers of Sanchez's cabinet, minister of equality and minister of regional affairs already were tested positive this week.

At the same time, the number of people infected by coronavirus in Italy has gone up by 20 percent since yesterday. Italy, which is the second most affected country after mainland China, reported more than 1,500 confirmed cases with 175 people killed in the past 24 hours. There have been more than 21,000 cases confirmed with around 1,500 deaths due to coronavirus outbreak in Italy.

WHO declares Europe as the new epicentre

WHO's director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom declared Europe as the epicentre of the coronavirus. "Europe has now become the epicentre of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined apart from China," he said during a press conference.