Spain has become the fourth most virus-infected country in the world, surpassing South Korea with a sharp curve of contagion, and closing its borders is a “real possibility” being considered.
The topic will be discussed by European Union members on Monday, according to the country’s interior minister.
Coronavirus cases in Spain rose by roughly 1,000 cases in 24 hours to 8,744 on Monday, and the number of fatalities reached 297.
Minister Fernando Grande Marlaska said a total lockdown could be the next step, after deploying the army to the streets and to clean train stations, ordering 46 million to stay at home and taking over control of private hospitals.
Portugal and Spain have already agreed to halt tourism across their 1,200-kilometer (750-mile) shared border. Goods and workers will still be allowed in and out. About half of the deaths have been in the capital, Madrid.
The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms but most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or people with existing health problems. More than 77,000 people have recovered from it so far, mostly in China.