Spain is to close all hotels within the next week, as the country steps up its fight against the coronavirus.

All hotels are to close from Tuesday March 24, with the British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, warning that “British tourists in Spain who wish to return home should make travel plans to do so as soon as possible”.

Spain is one of the worst affected European countries in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 14,000 recorded cases and 600 deaths so far.

Spanish authorities have said that they are considering turning vacant hotels into makeshift hospitals, to help ease pressure on the country’s healthcare system.

It is understood that the Ayre Gran Hotel Colon in Madrid will become the first “medicalised hotel” this week.

The BBC is quoting a Foreign Office spokesperson as saying that “British travellers in Spain should contact their tour operator or airline as soon as possible to arrange their return journey”.

Yesterday The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advised British people against all non-essential international travel, initially for 30 days and effective immediately.

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