LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO (KTSM) – The United States’ ban prohibiting travel to Europe because of the coronavirus went into affect at midnight Friday and directly affects New Mexico State forward Ivan Aurrecoechea.
The Spaniard has no idea when he’ll be able to get home to Madrid, Spain. The ban limiting travel to 28 different countries is currently in effect for 30 days, but it could last even longer.
The virus has hit Aurrecoechea’s home country hard, too; the Spanish government is issuing a 15-day lockdown on Monday. Citizens will only be allowed out of their homes for emergencies, to go grocery shopping or go to work. Aurrecoechea is understandably worried for his family.
“It’s hard to call my family every day and hear them say, ‘we can’t even go to restaurants anymore, we have to stay in the house,'” Aurrecoechea said. “It’s hard to check my phone and see they canceled flights to Europe and I don’t know when I’ll be able to get back.”
Aurrecoechea was a 1st team all-WAC selection after a senior season that saw him average 11 points and six rebounds per game. Even though he can’t currently get back to Spain, he feels at home at New Mexico State.
“I feel good because I’m here in Las Cruces and I’m not by myself, there’s a lot of people here to help me. I just hope everything goes away quickly.”
There are currently 13 cases of coronavirus reported in New Mexico, but none in Las Cruces as of Saturday night. El Paso reported its first case on Friday night.
The New Mexico State basketball team was robbed of another potential trip to March Madness after the WAC and NCAA Tournaments were cancelled on Thursday.