MADRID, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The Spanish government introduced a series of measures on Tuesday in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. It said that all sporting events will have to be held behind closed doors and all flights between Spain and Italy will be banned for two weeks.
In Madrid, schools, libraries and sports centers have been closed, and public events with an attendance of more than 1,000 people have also been banned.
The total number COVID-19 cases in Spain exceeded 2,181 on Wednesday, and 1,024 of these were reported in the Madrid region. The country has reported 49 coronavirus fatalities.
Despite this drastic increase from just 150 coronavirus cases registered eight days ago, the Spanish people Xinhua spoke to appeared to be appreciative of the government's measures.
"I think the measures are enough and if people act responsibly it will allow us to combat (the virus)," Esther told Xinhua. She said that although the number of new coronavirus cases was still on the rise, it will soon "go down as they have in China."
Ander, a basketball player, also said he was confident that the coronavirus would soon be defeated.
"I think the measures are enough. I don't think it's going to get much worse and people exaggerate quite a lot," he said, adding that he hadn't done much to change his lifestyle in the past weeks.
Leah, an American teacher, admitted that she was worried by what was happening: "My parents are trying to get me to come home, but I don't know what is the best thing to do both financially and for safety reasons," she said, calling it a "stressful time."
She agreed with the decision to close schools in the Madrid region, but criticized the Madrid regional authority for "not notifying the schools before they announced the decision."
"This has caused a lot of trouble and I feel bad for the administrators I work with, because they have been through a lot," she explained.
Buses and metro trains are being disinfected on a regular basis now in Madrid to try to control the virus. And another local, Paquita, said there was little option other than to keep public transport running even though it meant people would be in close contact with each other.
"People have to work and not everyone can take a taxi and not everyone has a car, so public transport has to continue," she said.
Maria, however, said that the government's measures were not strong enough. "They should have taken these measures earlier and they should be showing firm leadership," she said.